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Jetstar RyanAeroflot in wings as Russians go low-cost

August 1, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Russia’s state airline, Aeroflot, is about to invest the equivalent of AUD 110 million to set up a low-cost carrier along the lines of Australia’s Jetstar or Ireland’s RyanAir.

Still the largest carrier in Russia, Aeroflot plans to set up a subsidiary company “on the model of Ryanair and Jetstar”, according to a presentation given to Aeroflot’s board of directors last Thursday, Britain’s Guardian newspaper notes.

The carrier, tentatively named Loukostera, is due to begin flying next year, possibly as early as March, according to Russian media.

The budget airline is likely to sell tickets at between 20% and 40% lower than existing prices for flights around the European part of Russia. Russian aviation regulations need to be changed to make the new service feasible, Aeroflot said.Aeroflot

“Specifically, airports must offer lower service rates and reduce the time between flights to 40 minutes for each plane,” the Moscow Times reported.

Aeroflot celebrated its 90th anniversary in March. The airline still uses a hammer-and-sickle logo, a relic of the Soviet era, when air hostesses wore army boots and yelled “Silence!” in Russian if passengers grew restless.

The Guardian points out that the ubiquitous advertising tagline “Fly Aeroflot” was in Soviet times the subject of jokes, as Aeroflot was the only airline available. If you didn’t fly Aeroflot you had  to drive, ride a horse or walk. The phrase “Aeroflot chicken,” referring to the carrier’s unappetising fare, became notorious.

But times have changed and Aeroflot flies Western aircraft these days, which have a far better safety record than the carrier’s former, Russian-made models.

International routes for Loukostera could include popular destinations like Barcelona, Istanbul, Kiev and Yerevan.

Written by : Peter Needham

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