Ural Airlines (U6, Ekaterinburg) CEO Sergei Skuratov says his airline is on track to take delivery of its first Western-built widebody jets in 2016 despite the recent imposition of European and US sanctions on Russia. The aircraft will act as a replacement for Ural's now retired fleet of Il-86s.

Speaking to the Itar-Tass newswire, Skuratov said the choice of the A330-300 was only natural given Ural's current fleet of five A319-100s, twenty A320-200s and ten A321-200s. Skuratov said Ural intends to configure the aircraft with 366 seats in Economy class and had also considered the B767-300 as a potential choice.

"We haven't revised our plans to acquire suitable aircraft, such as the Airbus A330-300, under operating lease. In fact, our primary concerns stem from technical issues and are not political or sanctions-related," he said.

While Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) subsidiary Dobrolet (QD, Moscow Sheremetyevo) has now been forced to transfer its fleet of B737-800s to Orenair (R2, Orenburg), Skuratov said Ural's existing Western lessors, among them GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), had not advised his airline of any impending change in their contracts despite the ratcheting up of sanctions.

In fact, he added, during the course of next year, Ural will lease five more Airbus A319s and A320s for use in consolidating its route network which consists of flights to 73 destinations located throughout Russia, the CIS, China, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.