Aeroflot low-cost arm staffs up ahead of 2014 launch

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Aeroflot's low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet has started making preparations for launching its operation next year.

The newly registered carrier plans to hire 47 flightcrew and administrative staff before 2014. One source says it will tap human resources outside Aeroflot, in particular former personnel of the defunct Kuban Airlines.

Dobrolet has also invited proposals to create its corporate website and internet-based booking system by next March. The tentative plan is to launch scheduled flights from Moscow Domodedovo airport in mid-2014, using eight Boeing 737-800 to be leased from Aviakapital-Service.

Aeroflot general manager Vitaly Saveliev suggests that Dobrolet's fleet will grow to 40 737s eventually, but does not rule out that it could also employ Sukhoi Superjet 100s with all-economy passenger cabins.

He has identified eight domestic cities to be served by the budget arm during the first year. They include Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Makhachkala, Novy Urengoy, Samara, St Petersburg and Ufa.

Under the business plan, the domestic route network is to expand to 26 cities over the next three years. International services to Istanbul, Kiev and Yerevan are to be added in 2015 or 2016.

To facilitate low-cost operations, Russia's transport ministry has submitted the required air-code amendments for government approval. It says they should be adopted by year-end.