Aeroflot claims Belavia
Belarus intends to privatize the national airline Belavia. Belarus will consider only Russian investors’ proposals, the company said. The recent conflict between Russian and Belarusian carriers drew attention of Aeroflot to Belavia, with the former as the main contender for the purchase of Belarusian airlines, experts say.
A source in Belavia has confirmed that Belarus is considering offers exclusively from the Russian investors, reports Gazeta.ru. According to a source, as a result of Russia’s direct pressure, Belarussians removed Chinese investors from implementation of the project for building a new runway at National Airport Minsk-2.
According to experts of the analytical department of the Russian news agency "Airport," Aeroflot intends to strengthen its presence in the west, putting pressure on the Belarusian air carrier.
The experts say that the planes Sukhoi Superjet 100 with a capacity of 87 passengers, recently acquired by Aeroflot, are optimal for development of Minsk direction.
Belavia, in turn, is interested to stay competitive in the market through access to the Russian air travel domestic market. During the recent talks with Belarusians, the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Transport informed about the possibility of discussing the issue of air service liberalization.
"The time of small, the more public, airlines have already passed. They can’t exist outside the policy of state protectionism," says the economist, deputy chairman of the United Civil Party of Belarus Lev Margolin. According to him, he favored privatization of Belavia, but that privatization should be open, transparent and equal for all the candidates.
On April 12, Minister of Transport and Communications of Belarus Ivan Scherbo said that Belarus was considering the possibility of privatization of the National airline Belavia, included in the Republican privatization plan until 2015.He also noted that this issue was not relevant for 2012.
Ivan Scherbo also says that the Ministry of Transport of Belarus plans to buy more aircraft to actively work in the airline industry, including Brazil's medium-range airliners with a capacity of 70 passengers. According to Ivan Scherbo, they will be used for air travels to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kiev and Kaliningrad.
According to Ivan Scherbo, there have been proposals on the establishment of holding companies on the basis of Belavia and foreign companies, but Belarus is not considering this issue.
Belavia seeks to promote air travel not only between Minsk and Moscow, but between Minsk and the largest cities of Russia, said the general director Anatoli Gusarov. Increasing the number of flights in Moscow-Minsk direction (to resolve the conflict) by both parties will have a negative impact on the development of transport between Minsk and the Russian regions, he noted.
It is Aeroflot that triggered the conflict between the air carriers of Russia and Belarus. This was stated by Deputy Director General of the National airline Belavia Igor Cherginets on April 6.