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Russia's Newest Airline to Fly Passengers Across South in New Sukhoi Superjets

© Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev / Go to the photo bankRussian pilots prepare for MAKS-2009 air show in Zhukovsky
Russian pilots prepare for MAKS-2009 air show in Zhukovsky - Sputnik International
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A new Russian passenger airline is slated to start operations in 2017, and will better connect regions in the south and center of Russia, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

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A new passenger airline is being set up to better connect south and central Russia, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

"Up to ten Sukhoi Superjet airplanes are planned for service. Taking into account the cost of the airplanes, staff and the necessary auxiliary equipment, the volume of investments may reach up to 300 million USD," Sokolov said.

The transport ministry is inviting private companies to invest in the new firm, but it will provide some financing to acquire the necessary airplanes through the State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK).

The airline has been registered as a company, and is in the process of getting the necessary certificate and license for operating commercial flights from the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsia).

© Sputnik / Artem Zhitenev / Go to the photo bankSukhoi Superjet 100
Sukhoi Superjet 100 - Sputnik International
Sukhoi Superjet 100
"This project probably won't be that interesting for Aeroflot, which is already a fairly diversified holding. I think this project is more interesting for regional airports, which intend to develop their connections with each other," Sokolov explained. 

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that the new airline's hub will be Rostov-on-Don airport, one of the largest airports in the southwest of Russia, which 2.2 million passengers passed through last year. 

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The new airline will offer more choice and decrease travel time for airline passengers in the south of Russia, who are sometimes forced to travel north to Moscow for connections because of a lack of direct flights between regional centers.

An expert in the aviation industry told Kommersant that Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft are well suited to the transport needs of passengers between central Russia and southern regions such as Crimea and Krasnodar.

"Transporting passengers from the South to another Russian region means a huge amount of passenger traffic, which can only be served by larger capacity aircraft like the SSJ 100," the source said.

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