Aeroflot seeks government support for LCC offshoot

This story is sourced from Pro
See more Pro news »

Aeroflot has affirmed its willingness to set up a low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary if legislation conducive to such a move is enacted in Russia.

The airline's general manager, Vitaly Saveliev, discussed the matter during his meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week.

"There is a need for several amendments to the air code," he said. "If they are made, we'll be able to establish an affiliate low-cost operator. It may take us from six months to a year."

Specifically, no-frills business models require a change in the law to allow airlines to sell cheap non-refundable tickets, to charge passengers for carry-on luggage, and to not provide food and drinks on-board, Saveliev said.

He also proposed selecting one of airports in the Moscow region as a designated base for low-cost operators. "It should have reasonably low airport fees," he added. "We can help identify such facilities out there."

Putin endorsed the proposal in principle, saying: "Creating such an operator should make air travel affordable for many people with modest incomes and would be a great plus for the airline."

Aeroflot's move comes on the heels of proposed regulatory changes that will open up Russia's domestic market to foreign low-cost carriers, using cabotage as a catalyst for increased competition between local operators.

It also follows last week's announcement by the British CAA that low-cost carrier EasyJet will be named as a designated carrier on flights between Russia and the UK, replacing the now-defunct BMI.