Russia’s largest airline and the country’s flag carrier, Aeroflot, is reportedly in negotiations with European plane maker Airbus to finalize an expanded order for up to 28 A350 passenger jets. News about the deal came from two industry sources who spoke to Reuters. And neither Aeroflot nor Airbus have released any official statement regarding the potential deal. Are we hearing rumors? Or are the two parties just keeping things under wraps for the moment?

The expanded order for the 28 A350s would be valued $7.8 billion at list prices. The deal would also double the order for the 14 A350 jets that has been lingering on Airbus’ order book unfulfilled for almost a decade as the airline went through economic turmoil. According to one of the sources, Aeroflot is currently discussing doubling that unfulfilled A350 order, another source says a total order could be for 25 jets, Reuters reported on July 9, 2018.

According to Airbus orders and deliveries book, as of June 30, 2018, Aeroflot has a total of 61 orders, 47 Airbus aircraft delivered and 140 operational. Out of these: four A319ceos delivered and four more are on order; one A320ceo delivered and one more ordered with 81 operational; 26 A321ceos delivered, 26 ordered, and 37 operational; five A310s delivered and five more ordered; five A330-200s operational; 11 A330-300s delivered, 11 ordered, 17 operational; and 14 of the A350-900s in question are listed as ordered.

But let us take a look at Aeroflot’s previous Airbus orders. Reuters reports that in 2007, the airline ordered 22 A350s including 14 A350-900s and eight A350-800s, which Airbus later withdrew due to weak demand. That same year, Aeroflot also signed a contract for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners but later canceled the order. However, the contract may not have been formally terminated as the deal remains on Boeing’s catalogue of unfulfilled orders. Perhaps we will hear about Aeroflot negotiating with Boeing for this unfulfilled order in time to come?

As for Aeroflot’s current fleet, as of July 1, 2018, the airline has a total of 241 passenger airliners in its fleet, its average age being four years. In 2008, the carrier added 22 new long-haul A330s. From February 2013 to June 2018, the airline received 17 B777-300ERs. Since September 2013, Aeroflot has been operating 41 new medium-range B737-800s. And in January 2015, Aeroflot and Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) concluded a deal for 45 new Sukhoi SuperJet-100s. The carrier also has 37 A321s and 79 A320 jets in its fleet.

On May 30, 2018, Aeroflot announced its first-quarter financial results in which the company reported a net loss of around $185000 (RUB 11.543 million). Despite that, the carrier says it would set “more ambitious strategic goals”, having achieved its long-term 2025 ambitions to become a top-20 airline globally and top-five European airline ahead of schedule. Hence maybe the rumored negotiations over the expanded order for the 28 A350s may actually come to fruition?