Russian provincial carrier Air Samara and charter specialist Kolavia have entered into a joint operation agreement with a view to merging.
To co-ordinate their activities, the two parties will set up a single management company to be based in the city of Samara.
Alongside getting local registration, Kolavia is to base several of its nine Airbus A320/321s at the local airport Kurumoch. Currently, it operates from Moscow Domodedovo under the brand of Metrojet.
While maintaining its Moscow operation, the carrier will focus on developing services from Samara where the partners see a potential market with annual traffic of three million passengers.
Kolavia general director Sergei Mordvintsev has been tapped as head of the combined operation, says the regional administration.
Kolavia majority shareholder Ismail Lepiev says it will acquire up to 10 mainline aircraft, tentatively A320s, to provide domestic and international services from Samara.
In 2013, Air Samara brought in three Beechcraft turboprops for intra-regional services and intended to acquire a further six. But the carrier says it has dropped plans to acquire them given its projected merger with Kolavia.