Russia plans to integrate six smaller airlines into the country’s flagship carrier Aeroflot.
February 3: Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plans to integrate six smaller airlines into the country’s flagship carrier Aeroflot.
The merger is an attempt to improving air safety and modernise the domestic air fleet, which relies on a fleet of ageing Russian designs. Currently most of the airlines are under the control of the state-owned corporation Russian Technologies, except Rossiya, the largest of the six, which would have to be privatised before the merger can be completed. Other airlines in the merger would be KMV Avia, Orenair, Vladivostok Air, Saravia and SAT Airlines.
Igor Levitin, Russia’s Transport Minister, said “We will turn these companies into one corporate entity during 2010. Rossiya, the biggest carrier and the nucleus for those assets, will be registered as a stock company in St Petersburg. Then the entire asset will be gathered under joint management and merged with Aeroflot.”
In 2009 Aeroflot withdrew the Tu-154 from service and successfully put new A330 airliners into operation as part of a “mass replenishment” of its fleet with new aircraft. It has markedly improved its safety record in recent years and is tasked with providing “a flight safety level against the world’s best standards” by the board of directors.