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A third force

01 October 2005

AiRUnion is hoping to become a major competitor to Aeroflot and Sibir, but can the alliance find the funding and the management to become a viable rival? Steve Thomson, editor of Concise Aerospace (, reports.

Read more: airline Airlines; AirUnion; Aeroflot; Sibir

Over the past year a third force has begun to emerge in the Russian air transport sector that could challenge the domination of Aeroflot and Sibir, and which also threatens to displace the St Petersburg-based Pulkovo Airlines.

The AiRUnion airline alliance, led by the country's fourth-largest carrier, Krasnoyarsk Airline (KrasAir), is largely composed of airlines in which KrasAir's senior management, twin brothers Boris and Alexander Abramovich, exercise either control or influence.

The alliance comprises KrasAir, Domodedovo Airlines, Samara Airlines, Omskavia and Sibaviatrans, as well as regional carriers Bashkir Airlines and Sakhalin Airlines.

The new alliance represents a substantial and growing share of the Russian airline market - carrying well over 1.25 million passengers in the first half of 2005 out of the 14.7 million overall who travelled on Russian carriers.

Russian regional carriers after years of inadequate investment in both infrastructure and new aircraft cannot compete with the...

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