Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service is intent on abolishing overflight fees charged to foreign airlines, which traditionally benefit Aeroflot. FAS Director Igor Artemyev told reporters last week that his agency has prepared a relevant draft decree to be submitted for government approval shortly. Since the late 1970s, foreign operators have been paying pro-rate charges for transiting airspace over Siberia on routes between Europe or North America and Asia.
Russia's Ministry of Transport is working out a mechanism for distributing over the next two years RUB7.5 billion ($270.1 million) in subsidies to airlines serving the country's far east.
"Our goal is to introduce a uniform system of subsidizing economy-class fares on long-haul routes to and from these regions," Transport Minister Igor Levitin explained. At present, the state provides subsidies only to particular categories of passengers, such as those in the military, pensioners or students.
Russia's treasury is set to provide RUB30 billion ($1.08 billion) in soft loans to the air transport industry to help it through the current credit squeeze.
Last month the government established a state-backed dedicated relief facility to finance the working capital needs of a few major airlines. According to sources, the five carriers that transport more than 1 million passengers per year, with at least half on scheduled flights, are eligible to receive funds.
Russia's Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. is pressing ahead with the type certification schedule for its Superjet 100 ahead of launching serial production next year.
On Nov. 5, a specially chartered An-124-10 flight operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines transported fuselage, wings and empennage to the Siberian Chaplygin aviation research center in Novosibirsk for assembly of a second prototype for full-scale static tests.