Interview with Valery Okulov

Valery Okulov, CEO of Aeroflot air company, commented for Russia Today on the purchase of 22 Boeing-787 aircrafts and the overall prospects for Russia's largest carrier.

Russia Today: The issue of the purchase of these planes was followed closely by people at the forum. Can you confirm that deal with Boeing has now been signed.

Valery Okulov: We were preparing that project for a long time which is quite usual. These are big and expensive projects which do not easily develop but the outcome is positive – we made a deal for modern long-range airliners which Aeroflot will begin to acquire at the beginning of 2014. By that moment the company will prepare its long-range network and become ready to use these planes.

RT: Why not turn to Russia to source the aircrafts here?

V.O.: The two most successful long-range aircraft makers are Boeing and Airbus. Russian United Aircraft Corporation plans to make short-range Sukhoi Super Jet airliners and main resources are allocated for that. To develop our position on the global market we need to purchase the most modern long-range planes, namely Boeing-787 and A-350 which are highly effective, consume less fuel and provide necessary comfort.

RT: Now to Aeroflot's future. The company is a part of international alliance. Where is the airline going? Where do you imagine it by 2020?

V.O.: We have a lot of projects. I have already described the one dealing with long-range planes. As for our short-range fleet we have already ordered 45 Sukhoi Super Jet aircrafts. We also plan to buy A-320 planes for our medium-range fleet. We will continue our market expansion creating both branches and subsidiaries in Russian regions. We have already established Aeroflot-Don in the south and Aeroflot-Nord in the north, which are very successful. We have opened branches in St. Petersburg and Sochi. Our branch in Magadan in Russia's far East will start its work on July 1. We also have the plan to establish a large air company in the Far East to consolidate proper assets to be able to compete with foreign companies which are very active there and often are more effective than the local ones. The presence of Aeroflot will strengthen our position of the Russian carriers on this quite important market. We sense large potential for business, for tourism in the region and thus draft long-term programme to develop service in the Far East.