Incentives offered to operators of Russian regional jets

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Domestic operators of new Russian-built regional aircraft are to benefit from a state programme of subsidising air services that bypass Moscow.

The draft federal budget for 2014 allocates Rb3.6 billion ($112 million) in subsidies to carriers deploying Sukhoi Superjets or Antonov An-148s or An-140s on intra-regional and local routes.

In a memorandum, the transport ministry emphasises that the scheme would not apply to flights departing or ending at Moscow airports.

Pro-rated subsidies could apply to economy fares on regional routes with a range of up to 1,800km and annual passenger numbers not exceeding 8,000.

Rosaviatsia would conclude agreements with qualifying carriers following presentations of their bids. All other things being equal, it would give preference to the carriers that commit to using domestically built modern aircraft.

The programme is subject to government approval by year-end. Regulators expect that implementing the scheme will lead to launch of services on up to 60 new regional routes and a boost of 200,000 to the nation's annual regional passenger numbers.