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Aeroflot to buy jets from both Airbus, Boeing - CEO

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Aeroflot Russian Airlines [RTS: AFLT] said Wednesday it has decided to buy planes from both Boeing Co. and Airbus S.A.S., after weeks of hesitation about which of the world's two leading aircraft manufacturers it should rely on in upgrading its fleet.

IRKUTSK, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Aeroflot Russian Airlines [RTS: AFLT] said Wednesday it has decided to buy planes from both Boeing Co. and Airbus S.A.S., after weeks of hesitation about which of the world's two leading aircraft manufacturers it should rely on in upgrading its fleet.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Baikal Economic Forum, Aeroflot's chief executive, Valery Okulov, said: "We intend to acquire both Boeings and Airbuses."

He said the national carrier will purchase 22 Boeing jetliners in 2010-2012, and the same number of Airbuses in 2012-2016.

National Reserve Corp., a private shareholder in the state-controlled carrier, signed a deal with Boeing Co. Tuesday to reserve 22 787 Dreamliner jets for Aeroflot after its board failed to confirm the order in time.

Okulov said the Boeing contract will be confirmed as soon as the government comes out with an appropriate "directive."

Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Kirill Androsov said the delay in issuing the document was due to the Federal Property Agency's need to valuate the potential deal. He said the valuation has now been completed and the directive will be released soon.

Russian media link Aeroflot's hesitation on its Boeing contract to Washington's decision last month to impose sanctions on Russia's state arms export company, Rosoboronexport, and a major aircraft maker over their dealings with Iran.

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