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First Russian LCC In The Making

Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:32 pm

This is according to a report that I read in the Russian news magazine Профиль.

The Russian firm NRK, owner of 30% of Aeroflot shares, itself owned by oligarch Alexander Lebedev, is planning to lease 20 used A320s from Airbus in order to setup a low-cost carrier before the end of the year. The project is currently known as National Wings - Крылья Родины.

This news comes following the announcement at Farnborough that NRK is buying 48% of the shares of the German charter carrier Blue Wings. According to NRK, National Wings will become an amalgam of Blue Wings and an existing Russian carrier NRK is seeking to take over.

Sources (both Russian only):

Since this is done by an SU parent company, I wonder how this fits into SU's famously declared ambition to grow substantially on the home market. Will this do for them what 4U is doing for LH? Anyway, price competition is not a bad thing. I have friends living in the Russian Far East who dream of going to Moscow for a holiday, but always end up in Tokyo, Seoul or Beijing because it's so much cheaper.

Perhaps Russian A.netters can shed more light on this story.
"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
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RE: First Russian LCC In The Making

Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:55 pm

I understand some Russian; interestingly that the two links have not quite the same information. "Blue Wings" is mentioned to possess 3 A320s in one article, and 7 in the other; 20 A320/321 are expected to be ordered from Airbus (but no indication on whether new or used) according to one article, and 20 used A320 would be leased (no source named) according to the other.

Here's yet another article (from a respectable news agency)

This one says that "Blue Wings" has 5 (of course) Airbus planes, 3 of which are A330. The 20 A320s will be used and leased from 'respectable' international companies.

Interestingly that the literal English translation of the new LCC's name is "Wings of Motherland" but they specifically said the name "National Wings" for the the "international style" English brand for the company.

My big question is--doesn't Russia tax the foreign airplanes, especially used? How would it impact a potential LCC's profitability? Of course a few million $$$ to start up the airline is small money for anyone referred to as an 'oligarch'...
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RE: First Russian LCC In The Making

Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:30 am

1) Getting around taxes, I know for foreign made aircraft you can use foreign registrationns. UN once had a 737 that was US registered as NxxxUN, while all of SU's foreign craft are carrying VP-Bxx (bermudan) registrations.
Russia really needs an LCC. I think it will be exteremly successful, especially since they are going to have modern Airbuses, and Russia already has exceptionally low labor costs, with fares comparable to those in the US.
-Mr. X
What now?
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RE: First Russian LCC In The Making

Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:41 am

But at the same time the Russian government is talking about seting-up another joint carrier and stop Aeroflot's internal expansion. One hand doesn't know what the other does (and both take bribes)...