Travel Specialist Enters Airline Business

One of the largest tour operators in the CIS is in advanced discussions to set up an in-house airline to support growing demand for charter flights within the region. Pegas Touristik is in the final stages of securing the official licence of former Russian carrier NordWind Airlines and plans to lease three Boeing 757-200s for flights to Egypt and Turkey.
These are two of the most popular destinations for the booming outbound tourist sector from Russia, one of the fastest growing markets in the world. In the first quarter of 2008, the number of outbound tourists reached 1.8 million, up 29% year on year from 2007, according to Federal Tourist Agency figures. Other government tourist statistics show that 9.3 million Russians holidayed abroad in 2007, 20.8% more than in 2006, with 1.9 million going to Turkey and 1.2 million to Egypt.
Pegas Touristik was expected to launch operations in early September, initially using a B757-200 wet-leased from Vim Airlines. Once all crew training is completed on the type, the aircraft will be supplemented later in the year by two further B757-200s, which will be acquired on dry lease from an unidentified company. The airline has expressed an interest in adding between four and six Airbus A320 models to strengthen its network throughout the CIS.