Three provincial Russian carriers to combine operations

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Three of Russia's provincial carriers have agreed to set up a joint management company to handle investment in their combined operations and fleet renewal.

The trio includes Tatarstan Airlines, Ak Bars Aero and Mordovia Air - all of which serve the neighbouring republics of Tatarstan and Mordovia.

Overall investment in the project will total Rb1.2 billion ($37.5 million) in each of the next two years, says Tatarstan Airlines chief executive Aksan Giniyatullin. He adds that the management company will be based in Kazan.

"Under the new structure, our unified route system should have over 100 destinations and could transport up to 3 million passengers a year," he says.

As part of the shared business plan, project participants are looking at acquiring around 35 medium-range aircraft by 2015.

Giniyatullin said the airlines reached the conclusion that their combined fleet should be streamlined and centred on Airbus A320-family aircraft.

Tatarstan currently has two A319s and three Boeing 737s. Ak Bars Aero operates 10 Bombardier CRJ200s and eight Yakovlev Yak-42s, while Mordovia's fleet comprises three Antonov An-24s and a single An-26 freighter.