Russia formally establishes AirUnion successor carrier

Moscow
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Aeroflot may at last have a genuine rival carrier following the creation earlier this week by Moscow's city government and state-guided corporation Russian Technologies of a new airline to succeed the defunct AirUnion alliance.

The company has been tentatively called Russian Airways and has a charter capital Rb100,000 ($3,800). It will be headquartered in Moscow and should comprise assets in a dozen carriers, set for merger, with a combined fleet of around 250 mainline aircraft. But according to Vitaly Vantsev, who headed up the AirUnion rescue team and has been proposed as the new airline's general director, only 47 foreign and 10 Russian-built aircraft are economically efficient, which is why it would need to acquire new equipment both domestically and abroad.

The Moscow municipality owns 50% minus one share of the enterprise with the rest held by the other co-founder. A governing board of Russian Airways will include three representatives from each of the shareholders and one from the transport ministry.

Russian Technologies' chief Sergei Chemezov will become chairman of the board.

Chemezov believes Russian Airways could help stabilise the country's airline industry, become an alternative to national carrier Aeroflot and transport a comparable number of passengers by 2012.

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov says its strategy should focus on creating a system of hubs in Moscow, St Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk as well as locally based pilot training centres.