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Aeroflot's Budget Airline Dobrolyot One Step Closer to Taking Off

The Russian aviation watchdog has granted an operator's certificate to Russia's first low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, bringing the country a step closer to being able to provide budget air travel.

In its first year of operations Dobrolyot plans to offer flights from Moscow to eight Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Makhachkala, Ufa, Kaliningrad and Novy Urengoy, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday, citing the Federal Air Transportation Agency, or Rosaviation.

A subsidiary of Russian flagship airline Aeroflot, Dobrolyot plans to expand its destinations to 19 cities in 2015, and 26 cities in 2016, while also adding international flights to Kiev, Yerevan and Istanbul that year.

The head of Aeroflot, Vitaly Savelyov, said he expects Dobrolyot's first flight to go ahead in June, but declined to give an exact date, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

For that to happen, Dobrolyot must first obtain either a charter license or a license for regular flights. To get a charter license the airline needs to have at least three aircraft in its fleet, but for regular flights eight would be needed.

Savelyov said Tuesday that Dobrolyot currently has two Boeing 737-800s in its fleet and that Aeroflot has set aside a SuperJet 100 for it to use, RIA Novosti reported. He said that it will have eight aircraft by the end of the year.

Rosaviation recommended that carrier apply for a charter license and said that they can start inspecting its facilities this month, Itar-Tass reported, citing an unidentified Dobrolyot official.

Once the inspection is under way, the watchdog can start formulating the license — a process that takes about a month — meaning that a first flight in May is possible, the report said.

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