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Sep. 19, 2006
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EBRD to Fund Russias First Budget Airline
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is to confirm by mid-October its share in a project to set up the first budget airline in Russia, SkyExpress. The EBRDs Russian partners are not named. Experts, however, say that these are owners and managers of KrasAir. Prices at SkyExpress are going to be 40 percent cheaper than at their rivals.
The European Bank posted information about the creation of the low cost company on its web-site. SkyExpress is to begin operating before the end of the year. Its capitalization is to come to $48 million, $20 million of which will be provided by the EBRD. The banks board of directors is to endorse the project before October 17. Marina Bukalova, director general of SkyExpress, says that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to co-own the airline.

Other shareholders are not named. A source at the Russian transport watchdog, which already has an application to register the airline, says that these are private stockholders of KrasAir, including Boris and Alexander Abramovich. Another unofficial source confirmed the information.

SkyExpress is to be equipped with 44 middle-range Boeing 737-300/500 jets which were leased. Three planes are to arrive in Russia this fall. The jets are to operate domestic flights from the Vnukovo airport. Tickets are expected to cost 30-40 percent as cheap as at other airlines. Marina Bukalova said the company hopes to economize due to an effective internal management structure and e-tickets.

SkyExpress is the second project of low cost airlines in Russia. National Reserve Corporation owned by Duma deputy Alexander Lebedev announced their plans in February. No more details of the projects have been disclosed so far.

www.kommersant.com

All the Article in Russian as of Sep. 19, 2006

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