Airbus unveiled a provisional deal to sell four A380s worth USD$1.5 billion at list prices to Transaero Airlines, marking the first sale of Europe’s superjumbo to a Russian airline.
The country’s second-biggest carrier plans to introduce the world’s largest airliner on long-distance flights seating 700 people in three classes, Airbus said on Friday.
It will become the second airline to opt for a high-density seating configuration after France’s Air Austral, which has said it will use close to the maximum capacity of 853 seats.
The A380, which entered service four years ago, has a capacity of 525 passengers in standard three-class layout.
“The passenger is still getting a wider and more comfortable seat than on another plane,” an Airbus spokeswoman said.
Airbus says the economy seat on its A380 is 5 cm wider than on a 747 using similar cabin layouts.
Transaero carried 6.65 million passengers last year, 32.3 percent more than in 2009, and has a fleet of 64 aircraft, almost all of them Boeing.
It will now be considered the launch customer for the A380 in Russia, the CIS and eastern Europe, Airbus said.
The European plane maker believes traffic in this region will increase at an average rate of 5.6 percent per year over the next 20 years.
The Transaero deal will lead to an engine order for either Rolls-Royce or Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
Transaero will announce its selection between the two suppliers in the near future, Airbus said in a statement.