Austrian Airlines has signed strategic cooperation deal with Russia's AiRUnion.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Early October 2006.
Austrian’s Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Ötsch, issued the following statement regarding this new development: ‘Our cooperation with AiR Union is truly a milestone in our Focus East strategy. We are proud of the fact that this move enables us to advance our market position an enormous distance eastwards – in effect, to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.’
AiRUnion's network covers from Western Europe (Germany) all extends through the Urals and across Central Asia to the Pacific/Russia Far East, which is an ideal partner for Austrian in the east.
Multi-hub strategy will be implemented for Vienna, Moscow Domodedovo, Samara and Krasnojarsk. In 2007, both side will deepen and widen the product range.
AiRUnion was formed in 2004 by KrasAir, Omskavia, Samara Airlines, Domodedovo Airlines and Sibaviatrans, totalled over 100 planes.
Moscow-Domodedovo is an ideal hub for transfer passengers using the extensive route network of AiR Union in the East, which stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Coast. AiR Union is planning flights from Samara to Vienna, and possibly also from Krasnojarsk to Vienna via Moscow. Aircraft of the types Boeing 767, 757 and 737 will be used by AiR Union on these routes. In return, Austrian will transport passengers via Moscow and out into the route network of AiR Union.
Cooperation takes place from Summer 2007 Schedule. Network synergies will be achieved through codeshare flight, block space agreement and others. These are under negotiation.
FYI, Lufthansa has been in contact with AiRUnion and other big russian carriers regarding Russian member in Star Alliance.