MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s flagship air carrier Aeroflot is set to launch a subsidiary which it has simply dubbed ‘Budget Carrier’ (Byudzhetniy Perevozchik), the company’s official website announced.
The carrier, which is still working out its full series of routes, will fly from Moscow to cities inside Russia including Surgut, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Samara, Kazan, Volgograd, Belgorod, and Tyumen, with tickets starting at just 999 rubles (about 24.50 US). Additional fees for luggage, seat selection, cancellations, etc. will be applicable, as is standard among low-cost carriers.
The company, which is starting out with a small fleet of four Boeing 737-800s, will begin operations in late October.
The new carrier is set to replace another subsidiary of Aeroflot, Dobrolyet, which stopped its operations in August after being penalized by sanctions from the European Union for offering low cost flights to Simferopol, Crimea in July. Its European contractors decided to terminate its lease contract, as well as contracts for the maintenance and insurance of the airline’s Boeing 737-800 fleet.
Earlier, Aeroflot had stated that 16 new Boeings would be ordered for the Dobrolyet fleet directly from Boeing between 2017 and 2018, the Russian business news site RBC reported.
In 2012 President Vladimir Putin discussed the creation of a low-cost airline with Aeroflot’s Director General Vitaly Savelyev, including the creation of the right legislative conditions, in order to improve air connections within the vast country. The conditions include the scrapping of free luggage allowances, on board meals, and other allowances which were previously standard, as well as the scrapping of import duties on new planes.
Russia also has plans to revamp its own civil aviation industry in the coming years. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted last month that Russia should increase the production of aircraft and spare parts domestically in view of Western sanctions. At present up to 80 percent of all civil aviation in Russia is foreign-made. The country has plans to increase production of the Sukhoi Superjet-100, and the introduction of other designs like the MC-21, and a long-haul wide-body airliner to be co-developed with China.