Computer rendering of an A380-800 in Transaero livery. Courtesy, Airbus

Airbus confirmed Friday morning that Transaero Airlines (UN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus for four A380 aircraft, making UN the launch customer for the A380 in Russia, the CIS and Eastern Europe. The announcement had been anticipated (ATW Daily News, Oct. 28). Transaero will announce an engine selection for the new aircraft in the near future, Airbus said.

The second-largest Russian carrier plans to start operations with the A380 on its long-range network of high density routes from Moscow. The aircraft will feature a three-class cabin layout, seating about 700 passengers, according to a statement by Airbus.

“Transaero is experienced in operating long-range wide-body aircraft, and is now ready to offer the A380. I am sure that the operation of this high capacity aircraft will stimulate the development of Russia’s aviation sector, in particular airports infrastructure while passengers will benefit from a completely new experience,” UN CEO Olga Pleshakova said.

Airbus COO-customers John Leahy said, “We definitely see market potential for the A380 in Russia. Passenger traffic in this region is expected to increase at an average rate of 5.6% per year over the next 20 years.

UN launched its services in November 1991, and currently serves more than 130 routes all over the world.

Airbus said total orders for the aircraft stand at 236 from 18 customers worldwide; 59 aircraft have been delivered to seven customers.