Transportation minister favors merging state regional airlines

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KRASNOYARSK, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Transportation Ministry is against privatizing individual airlines and has submitted to the government proposals on merging major state-owned airlines, Minister Igor Levitin said in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk Thursday.

Addressing a conference on airport and airline development, Levitin said the initiative included merging regional airlines based in Omsk (Western Siberia), Samara (the Volga area), and also Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) and Domodedovo (Moscow) airlines into an alliance, Air Union.

"If we sell individual companies, we will have nothing left for setting up a major airlines," Levitin said. "Therefore, we propose merging [state-owned] shares in regional airlines."

Levitin also said that airports of Krasnoyarsk (Western Siberia) and Khabarovsk (the Far East) would be developed into large transportation hubs with intensive passenger and cargo traffic on cross-polar and Europe-Asia routes.

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