Kras Air is in negotiations with the leasing arm of German charter carrier Germania to start a joint venture Russian leasing company using Boeing MD-80s. The new venture would become the first operator of the type in Russia and Germania could enlarge the scheme to incorporate additional Western types.

The two companies say that they are holding talks to find the best legal structure to maximise tax benefits of importing the aircraft into Russia. One possibility is to use the value of the aircraft as capital for the start-up company. The deal is due to be set up by the end of the month.

Germania owns one MD-82 and six MD-83s which are leased to Nordic Airlink (one), Spanair (two) and Swiss International Air Lines (four). These will transferred to the new company in 2004.

Kras Air, which operates Ilyushins and Tupolevs, says that initially it will use the twinjets itself, but will then lease to other Russian carriers. The aircraft will be based in Kras Air's hub in Krasnoyarsk and operated on routes from Siberia to European Russia, the airline says.

Meanwhile, Kras Air will take delivery of the first of two ex-Ansett Airlines Boeing 767-200s this month for long-range services, on lease from Ansett Worldwide.

Source: Flight International