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Aeroflot brands low-cost spin-off Dobrolet

Russia's Aeroflot is to brand its new budget airline spin-off Dobrolet, after the original name of Aeroflot adopted when the flag-carrier was formed 90 years ago.

Dobrolet will be based in Moscow and initially use eight Boeing 737-800s in a single-class configuration.

Aeroflot says the first flights of the budget operation are foreseen to take place in spring 2014, serving popular destinations in the European region of Russia.

The flag-carrier says that it will cut the cost of transport by up to 40% compared with legacy carriers by configuring the 737s with higher capacity, reducing the seat pitch, and offering direct ticket sales.

It will also charge ancillary fees for checked baggage, priority boarding and catering.

Aeroflot will wholly own the new carrier and says it will invest some $100 million in the operation over the first two years. Dobrolet's fleet will expand by eight aircraft annually, it adds.

It has named Vladimir Gorbunov as the head of the carrier.

But Aeroflot chief Vitaly Saveliev warns that low-cost operations in Russia will not be feasible unless legislation is adopted to enable the charging of ancillary fees and hiring of foreign pilots. "We look forward to the adoption of appropriate legislative measures before the end of this year," he says.

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