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State Mulls Opening Market for Low-Cost Airlines

A Boeing 737 airliner operated by the now-defunct low-cost carrier Sky Express at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. Maxim Stulov

The government is considering a plan to allow foreign low-cost airlines to fly domestically, the head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said Tuesday.

Igor Artemyev's statement came after a meeting of the government commission for competition and the development of small and medium-sized businesses, Interfax reported.

"We are very actively discussing the issue of inviting foreign low-cost airlines ... including for domestic transportation," Artemyev, said. "We expect to hold a serious discussion on this."

He also said talks were under way about measures to create incentives for the establishment of domestic budget carriers.

Currently, low-cost airlines that fly to Russia include Germany's Air Berlin and Germanwings, Spain's Vueling Airlines, Norway's Norwegian, Austria's Niki, Turkey's Pegasus Airlines and the United Arab Emirates-based companies Air Arabia and Flydubai.

Such industry giants as EasyJet and Ryanair don't operate in Russia.

The only domestic low-cost airlines were SkyExpress, founded in 2006, and Avianova, which began flying in 2009. Both ceased operations in 2011. 

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