Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier, has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of seven A321 aircraft for its medium-haul fleet modernisation programme. Deliveries of the newly ordered aircraft are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines, Aeroflot's A321s will feature spacious and comfortable two-class cabin layouts seating 170 passengers including 20 seats in a fixed business class. The airline plans to operate these aircraft on its European and domestic networks.

Aeroflot was the first Airbus customer and operator in Russia, putting an A310 in service in 1992. It was also the first airline in the CIS to operate the A319 and A321. Aeroflot currently operates eight A319s, seven A320s and three A321s, and is amongst the leading operators of the Family both in terms of operational reliability and daily utilisation. The airline currently flies to almost 90 destinations worldwide and in Russia.

The world's most profitable single-aisle A320 Family - comprising the A318, A319, A320 and A321 - has accumulated more than 40 million flight hours to date. Designed to optimise revenue through cabin adaptability and passenger comfort, the A320 Family features the most modern and complete fly-by-wire technology available on any single-aisle aircraft. The A320 Family ensures savings in every element of direct operating cost, and provides operators with the highest degree of operational commonality and economy for aircraft in the 100-220 seat category.

With more than 3,700 Airbus single-aisle aircraft ordered and more than 2,500 delivered today, the A320 family is without doubt the most successful airliner programme. The A320 family has almost 200 customers and operators to its credit.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. In Moscow, it has a regional office, as well as technical representation providing on-the-spot airline support. The Airbus Engineering Centre ECAR, established jointly with the Kaskol Group, has been operational in Moscow since Spring 2003.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.