Finnish regional carrier and SAS subsidiary blue1, which became Star Alliance's first regional member last month, is keen to add services to Russia, in particular to Moscow and St Petersburg.

But Sveneric Persson, blue1 chief executive, believes that such a move would require an amended bilateral agreement between Finland and Russia as only one airline on the Finnish side is allowed. That airline is currently Finnair, which operates daily flights to Moscow and an eight-times-weekly service to St Petersburg.

"We have announced our interest to the Finnish civil aviation administration, which is negotiating the bilateral with Russia," says Persson.

He says blue1 is adding services to the Finnish city of Kittil„ next February and adds that there is probably room to add another "two or three" domestic destinations. So far, blue1 serves five cities in Finland as well as Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm.

Helsinki-based blue1 has 70% of its services within the Nordic region and currently flies to four other European destinations - Amsterdam, Berlin Brussels and Hamburg.

According to Persson, the carrier is considering adding new routes to Germany and Poland.

Source: Airline Business