Russian provincial start-up Air Samara is looking to acquire nine Beechcraft turboprops for local routes with the backing from regional authorities.

The as-yet-unlicensed operator has selected the twin-engined King Air 350i, featuring improvements to the passenger cabin.

"We've been shopping around domestically and abroad for a long time," says board chairman Leonid Schwartz. "Given the current demand, we need such an economical aircraft type. If need be, it could be easily converted into an air ambulance."

Nikolai Merkushkin, governor of the Samara region, says encouraging scheduled intra-regional air services from the city of Samara is one of his administration's priorities, and he wants Kurumoch International airport to become "one of the leading second-tier hubs in the Volga federal district".

Referring to negotiations with civil aviation agency Rosaviatsia, Merkushkin says he expects Air Samara to shortly obtain permission for flights after it resolves "purely technical" issues.

The State Transport Leasing Company has said it is willing to supply nine twin-turboprops under the guarantees of local authorities, which envisage the possibility of eventually leasing larger types.

Source: Flight International