Russian news source TASS has this story. Meanwhile another Russian source describes the deal rather differently. The SSJ has been in play with this airline for some time. Russia and Egypt had their relationship ruffled by the bombing of the Russian Metrojet A321.
Clearly there is some confusion about what exactly is going on. TASS speaks of 40 SSJs, while Sputnik speaks of 4+6. But this is not the only confusion.
Given the low oil price and its impact on the ruble, Russia is under pressure to export more than oil. Both news sources are saying the deal is being led by the Russian state, not UAC or Sukhoi. Why is this an issue? Because there has been an understanding that SuperJet (Venice, Italy) would lead sales to western countries while UAC (Sukhoi’s parent) would focus on CIS countries. Lately Russia has been far more vigilant, especially Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, in talking about deals. Recently he was talking about SSJs being sold to Iran.
There are a number of questions that emerge from the news flow.
- Why is Egypt dealing with Russia on a state to state basis for this deal?
- Is the deal a way to get beyond the Metrojet disaster?
- What signal, if any, is being sent to the US?
- How come SuperJet is not involved in this deal?
- Is the relationship between Sukhoi and Finmeccanica under stress?
We are eager to see these issues clarified as the real deal emerges.