Russia's Budget Airline to Be Investigated Over $16 Tickets

Pobeda's press service said that it does sells some tickets at the advertised price of 999 rubles ($16), though these tickets are limited.

A budget airline run by Russia's national carrier, Aeroflot, has been accused by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) of using misleading advertising, the TASS news agency reported Thursday.

The case was launched after a resident of Chelyabinsk informed the local branch of the FAS that flights to Moscow run by airline Pobeda cost 1,999 rubles rather than the 999 rubles ($16) advertised.

The airline is therefore presenting "incorrect information about the ticket's cost,"  according to the head of the FAS's advertising and unfair competition office, Lyudmila Galichina.

Even if the tickets were sold at their advertised base price of 999 rubles, Galichina said, Pobeda would face investigation for not prominently noting that the fee does not include tax.

"This price — 999 rubles — is shown in large print. And then in very small print, almost invisible, it says that the price is shown without tax added,"  Galichina said.

But Pobeda responded on Thursday that the FAS's claims are unfounded, TASS reported.

Pobeda's press service said that it does sells some tickets at the advertised price of 999 rubles ($16), though these tickets are limited.

"These [999 ruble] tickets sell out very quickly," the Pobeda press service told TASS later on Thursday.

"But 2,500 rubles is a very good price for a flight from Chelyabinsk to Moscow," the press service added.

This isn't the first time that Russia's first budget carrier has run into turbulence as it charts new territory for Russia's airline industry.

Launched early last year under the name Dobrolyot, the company saw its leasing agreements for several Boeing aircraft annulled by EU sanctions for servicing flights to Crimea after its annexation by Russia in March.

Relaunched in November under a new name, Pobeda — Russian for "victory," in apparent defiance of Western sanctions — began advertising 999 ruble ($16) flights between Moscow and several Russian cities.

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