The Irkutsk region Development Corp. will acquire 51% of IrAero Airline and plans to invest in the carrier’s further growth. The airline will be developed together with Ramport Aero, which operates Zhukovsky International Airport near Moscow.

The companies signed an MOU at the beginning of March, Ramport Aero said in a statement. Russia’s Solidarnost Bank has also taken part in the agreement and is named as a project adviser. Previously, the Vedomosti newspaper reported the Irkutsk region will get the shares, which are now pledged at this bank.

According to Russia’s National Register of Legal Entities, IrAero belongs to several individuals; the carrier’s general director Yuri Lapin is one of the shareholders.

Lapin told Russia’s TASS news agency that the owners decided to sell 51% of shares as the company needs investments for Irkut Corp.'s MC-21 aircraft.

IrAero ordered 10 MC-21s at the MAKS Air Show in 2013 in a deal valued at $720 million at current list prices. Delivery was planned for 2019-2022, but the MC-21 project has been delayed several times since then. In 2018, Irkutsk region authorities announced that IrAero will be the first operator of the type in the country.

IrAero, which has a main base at Irkutsk International Airport, will also develop its network from Zhukovsky Airport. According to the signed MOU, IrAero will base three Boeing 777s at Zhukovsky; the companies will announce the routes later.

The airport previously announced IrAero will start 5X-weekly Zhukovsky-St. Petersburg-Nizhny Novgorod service from April 14 and 2X-weekly Zhukovsky-Sochi service from May 25. The aircraft type for these routes has not yet been disclosed, but ATW understands the airline will use smaller planes, such as Antonov An 26s/An 24s, Bombardier CRJ100/200s and Sukhoi Superjet 100s.  

Polina Montag-Girmes