Kuban phases out Yak-42s

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Russian provincial operator Kuban Airlines has phased out all six of its Yakovlev Yak-42 trijets, with a view to replenishing capacity with Western-built aircraft.

The carrier says the last Yak-42D exited service on 1 November and it now only operates three Boeing 737s and three Airbus A319s.

The move is part of a plan to improve fleet structure and utilisation worked out by the new management.

Under the plan Kuban has turned to several domestic insurance companies seeking to obtain coverage for its jets. In the request for proposals, newly-appointed director general Sergei Mordvintsev says it intends to acquire three more A319s in the first quarter of 2013.

"Our business strategy is to pursue growth through expanding cross-border and domestic services from our two operational bases," he says.

In 2013, Kuban plans to serve 15 cities from Krasnodar and nine from Moscow Vnukovo, adding seven and three destinations respectively. It also has rights to carry out flights from 17 other Russian cities to 37 destinations abroad.

The carrier has hired former Aeroflot fleet safety manager Alexander Argunov as a new technical director.

It says his prime responsibility is to make preparations for the planned fleet enlargement as well as to ensure aircraft airworthiness and high utilisation rate.

In the first nine month of 2012, Kuban carried 844,000 passengers. Mordvintsev expects passenger numbers to reach 1.1 million following capacity increases next year.