Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Tuesday to wave off Russia's first low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, on its maiden flight, and urge the carrier to keep its prices low.
Dobrolyot, a subsidiary of Russia's flagship carrier, Aeroflot, will initially run four flights a day to its only destination, the city of Simferopol in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the carrier's first flight, Medvedev said he was very pleased to see the low-coster idea being put into practice in Russia, but that both Aeroflot and Dobrolyot must not allow their prices to jump, Itar-Tass reported.
Dobrolyot put its tickets up for sale on May 26, and managed to sell 13,700 in the first 24 hours. An adult return ticket in both July and August would cost the passenger just under 7,000 rubles ($204).
Medvedev also inspected one of Dobrolyot's planes, and said that although it looks great, more portly passengers might be in for an uncomfortable ride.
"The plane is cool, it is completely new. Its seats are narrow, but the flights are not very long, so I hope everything will be OK," RIA Novosti cited him as saying.
The budget carrier will start flying to St. Petersburg and Samara in August before turning its attention to other parts of Russia. It hopes to offer international flights, mainly to Europe and the CIS, by 2016.
Dobrolyot currently has two Boeing 737 aircraft, and plans to expand its fleet to eight by the end of 2014, and then to 40 in 2018, which would allow it to operate 45 routes and carry 10 million passengers, Aeroflot said in a press release.
Aeroflot's Budget Airline Dobrolyot One Step Closer to Taking Off