AUSTRIAN AIRLINES is planning a significant expansion of operations east of Moscow over the next 12 months.

The carrier is hoping to add CIS Republics Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to its list of destinations, says company vice-president Helga Tomaschtik, while conceding that the talks are still in the early stages.

"We are trying to find out whether it is possible to open up new destinations east of Moscow," she says. "It is an economic area that is developing fast, and a growing number of business people are wanting to fly there. So, for us, it is a very interesting market," she adds.

Austrian Airlines first flew to Moscow in 1958 and feels that it may have the edge over other carriers, in the exploitation of the new growth area because of its links with Russia.

Tomaschtik adds, "Moscow was one of our first destinations. We are very familiar with the situation there, and we already fly to 20 destinations in Russia."

Meanwhile, Austrian is close to completing a deal to start flights to Osaka, Japan, early in the new year through a code sharing agreement, with All Nippon Airways.

A similar deal with Delta Air Lines, with whom it has a code sharing arrangement, should see the Austrian carrier flying into Atlanta, Georgia, in time for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Source: Flight International