Blue Air aims to begin Moldova services

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Romanian low-cost operator Blue Air is poised to start serving nearby Moldova following the country's integration into a pan-European aviation market.

The carrier's general manager, Sherif Ussama, gave a presentation to the Moldovan government in Chisinau and conducted talks with its prime minister Vlad Filat.

He said: "We've kept a close watch on Moldova's steps toward achieving a comprehensive air transport agreement with the European Union.

"We're interested in co-operating with you and have worked out several scenarios envisaging lower air fares and creating jobs here."

According to Filat, Moldova will formally join an 'open skies' policy governing the European common aviation area on 22 March.

"Ahead of that, our task is to ensure all necessary conditions for budget operators seeking to enter local market," he said. "We want our citizens to benefit from this."

Blue Air's services are expected to be particularly appealing to a considerable number of Moldovan migrant workers in western Europe.

The carrier is set to expand its fleet beyond seven Boeing 737s by taking five modern-variant examples. These would include two -800s and three -900ERs.

Ussama said Blue Air has a 40% share of domestic low-cost air services segment, serving 17 foreign cities from its hub Bucharest Baneasa and 10 from Bacau airport.

To provide for further growth, the carrier has engaged in a project to build a new airport at Adunatii-Copaceni, 20km south of central Bucharest.

It should be the first privately-owned airport in Romania, said Ussama, adding that the facility is designed to handle Boeing and Airbus narrowbody aircraft and could be completed in two years.