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Vnukovo Owners Seek to Buy Yermolino Airport

The owners of Vnukovo International Airport are interested in obtaining a controlling stake in Yermolino Airport in the Kaluga Region, which may become the fourth major airline hub serving the capital, a news report said Thursday.

Vnukovo-Invest, which holds 75 percent in Vnukovo International Airport, is prepared to invest 3 billion rubles ($94 million) in revamping Yermolino Airport, Vnukovo-Invest's controlling shareholder Vitaly Vantsev told Vedomosti.

He noted, however, that his company would proceed with the plan only if a railway line was built between Yermolino and Vnukovo.

According to Vantsev, Vnukovo-Invest has been engaged in negotiations with UTair president Andrei Martirosov to jointly finance the airport, which had previously been used by the military.

Vantsev said he and his business partners would be interested in getting at least 51 percent of the airport.

Martirosov declined to comment.

UTair plans to use Yermolino for its low-cost airline project, Martirosov said in an earlier interview. The airline wants to transfer up to 20 of its Airbus 321 planes there.

He said both Aeroexpress and Russian Railways had expressed interest in the project. They are expected to establish a direct railway link between the airport and Moscow.

After all legal formalities concerning Yermolino property are settled, next week local authorities may invite private investors to participate in the airport's development, a source told Vedomosti.

According to UTair, Yermolino needs to attract 6 billion rubles in private investments.

But, apart from Vnukovo-Invest, no other major investors have shown interest in the project so far.

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