Sakhalin to take on Far East role for Aeroflot

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Aeroflot's planned subsidiary to serve Russia's far east is to be centred on Sakhalin Airways.

Speaking in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, regional governor Alexander Khoroshavin says the locally-based operator has acquired a controlling stake in Vladivostok Avia from their common parent Aeroflot.

"The enlarged Sakhalin Airways will become a unified single carrier in which 49% will be owned by the regional administration," he says.

Sakhalin Airways has also struck a deal with Aeroflot under which it will assume responsibility for providing intra- and inter-regional services.

"We're going to have a hand in its activities and encourage establishing air links with neighbour territories from Chukotka and Kamchatka to Blagoveshchensk," says the governor.

Aeroflot deputy director Dmitry Saprykin expects the restructured regional affiliate to become fully operational in the third quarter of 2013. Its immediate plans envisage acquiring passenger aircraft with capacity between 19 and 50 seats.

Khoroshavin adds that the federal property agency has transferred to his administration titles to seven airports on the Sakhalin and Kuril Islands as part of the programme to enhance local airline industry.