Source Pravda.Ru

Russian aviation consortium to send airlines shrinking, warns minister

The number of Russian-based air companies may shrink from present-day 300 to a mere 20 after a national aviation consortium is established, Hermann Gref, federal Minister of Economic Development and Trade, said to a news conference in Moscow.

His ministry is to offer consortium blueprints to the Cabinet before the year's end.

A huge number of airlines are now active in Russia. They live from hand to mouth, and do not meet basic social and economic demands. The dwarf companies cannot afford to maintain their craft and equipment as they should, let alone update them.

Russia has another major goal-to balance out its market where production facilities and export opportunities are concerned. Possibly, Russia's import duties will be cut next year for aircraft whose analogues the Russian-based industry does not offer, said Mr. Gref.

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