Air Transport World

Air Russia: grinding to a start. (joint venture between Aeroflot and British Airways PLC)

The break-up of Aeroflot as the national flag carrier of the former U.S.S.R. is starting to go beyond its restructuring into a bevy of regional carriers (ATW,, 7/92). The Russian aviation ministry is in various stages of discussion with other international carriers about the formation of joint venture airlines. Most of these are still several years down the road, either still in the preliminary discussion phase, or just entering the planning stage.

The most advanced, though, is Air Russia, a joint venture between Aeroflot and British Airways that possibly is within a year of being implemented.

Plans are to start service in 1994, operating a fleet of seven Western aircraft such as Boeing 767-300s. However, while the development of Air Russia has been slow, its start-up could be advanced to as early as next year, according to John Borkowski, BA's head of strategy Air Russia, the project group forming the airline.

The project group forms a board of 10 directors. Borkowski serves as managing director, while Vladimir Tikhonov, head of the International Commercial Division of Aeroflot (Russia International Airlines), is chairman of the board.

Key to the new airline is the ability to use Moscow as a hub for long-range spokes to the U.S., Western Europe and the Far East. Moscow's position on the great-circle route will cut substantial time from flights such as New York-Tokyo, London-Singapore, etc. Using this route can cut up to 7 hr. off the New York-Singapore flight.

Eventually, Air Russia could use Moscow as a hub to connect the U.S., London and the Far East to other cities within the CIS.

The airline will work on a "wave," or "bank" principle, with aircraft arriving from the West, then departing about an hour later for destinations in the East. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.