Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot has announced that it will purchase Airbus A350 airliners, when only a few months ago it had said it would purchase Boeing's 787. The reason? The U.S. has opposed Russia's potential membership in the World Trade Organization, and this move by Aeroflot is seen as politically motivated.
In December 2005, according to the newspaper Vedomosti, Aeroflot was considering a purchase of 22 Boeing 787s. But as relations between the U.S. and Russia deteriorate, Aeroflot's switching sides is no surprise. Especially when the fact that the Russian government owns 51% of Aeroflot is revealed.
Airbus wouldn't comment, and Aeroflot wouldn't say much beyond that the contracts haven't been signed yet. "We haven't chosen the planes yet," a spokeswoman for Aeroflot said, but I think that Aeroflot will go ahead with the A350 purchase.
Boeing, which has been trouncing Airbus in the orders area, seemse to be suffering from American diplomacy at the moment. Beside the Aeroflot situation, there's trouble for Boeing in Asia: China Airlines (which is based in Taiwan) might cancel its order for Boeing's new 747-8 after a spat between the Taiwanese and American governments over transit stopovers for the Taiwanese president.
Airbus, on the other hand, is seemingly immune to diplomatic events like these, mostly because it is a multi-national consortium of European manufactures as opposed to Boeing, which is based in the U.S.