President Vladimir Putin signed a law that makes changes to the Aviation Code allowing airlines to sell both refundable and nonrefundable tickets in an aim to help lift off budget carriers.
Under previous aviation rules, a passenger was entitled to a full refund for the ticket if the trip was cancelled 24 hours prior to departure and was penalized up to 25 percent of the ticket price if the airline was notified later.
This option is now left for those purchasing refundable tickets. At the same time an airline may now offer nonrefundable tickets, as is common practice for European low-cost carriers.
An explanatory note to the law said the measure was meant to decrease the price for airline tickets and improve ridership.
The only Russian budget carrier the new law would benefit is Dobrolyot, which was slated to begin flights this summer.
Aviation experts, however, were skeptical that nonrefundable tickets alone would do the job of supporting budget carriers, saying that further liberalization of air legislature was needed, including lifting restrictions on seat reservation, baggage allowance and catering on board.