Impacted by the sharp ruble devaluation and rise in operating costs, the Russian rail passenger operator Aeroexpress wants to cancel the contract with Stadler for the delivery of 25 double-deck KISS trains. The Swiss manufacturer is trying to sell the already assembled trains in Azerbaijan.
According to Le Temps publication, Aeroexpress has twice attempted to cancel the contract and has proposed to reduce the initial order to 8 trains, two of which have already been delivered. The Swiss manufacturer is trying to save his first major contract in the Russian market.
Aeroexpress, which provides rail services between the capital and all of the major Moscow airports (Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo), faces financial difficulties not envisaged when signing the EUR 381m contract two years ago. The devaluation of the ruble by 40% impacted heavily on Aeroexpress purchasing power. The economic crisis has also reduced the number of passengers, while Russian Railways significantly increased rail infrastructure charges. The operator now estimates Kiss trains’ depreciation period between 15 and 20 years.
Not to remain with the new trains in stock, Stadler is seeking alternative customers. The company has already signed a contract with Azerbaijan Railways (ADY) for five Kiss units. Initially intended for Aeroexpress, the vehicles were repainted in the colors requested by ADY and two of them have already been delivered.