A new Slovakian national airline is to be set up, operating a fleet of Russian airliners, following government approval of the plans.

The new carrier, named Slovenske Aeroline, is expected to begin operations by the end of the year, initially concentrating on services between Slovakia and Russia, using Yakovlev airliners leased from the Slovakian Government. The aircraft will apparently be acquired as part of an exchange deal with Russia, to pay off Russian debts accumulated during the Communist regime.

The new airline is being formed by a consortium, with partners including a Slovak tourist organisation, WILI (28%), a division of Devin Banka, the bank which oversees Slovak-Russian trade (33.5%), and a group of partially state-run Slovak companies (34.2%). The remaining shareholding will be taken by the Russian design bureau Yakovlev. Viliam Veterska, a director of WILI, is the president of the new airline.

It is planned that the carrier will launch operations between Slovakia's capital Bratislava and Moscow, while charter flights will be flown from Russia to Slovakia's ski resorts. Veterska says that the airline will also operate services to Mediterranean holiday resorts, including Turkey and Cyprus, and to Israel.

Source: Flight International