10 Aug 2009 16:27

Govt must support consolidation of airlines

MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) - The government should support further consolidation of Russian airlines, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko told the media on Monday.

"The enlargement and consolidation of airlines should enjoy the adequate support of the government, so that we have strong, reliable and solvent business partners and reliable and strong consumers," he said.

The aviation industry is about to enter a complicated period, which will include the consolidation of assets, Khristenko said.

"The establishment of Rosavia is not a banal example. I wish them more success and happiness than myself because airlines are clients of the Russian aviation industry," Khristenko said.

Consolidation will facilitate airlines' access to state funding and support amid the financial crisis, he said, citing as an example the subsidizing of two thirds of loan rates. "Unfortunately, many subsidies do not work in 2009. This is not because there is no money. This is because the eligible applicants must have a normally functioning business," he said.