Regional Airlines Plead to Government for Help amid Pandemic Threat

A Russian senator representing the far eastern Magadan province has appealed to the government to add 12 smaller regional airlines to the list of Russia’s ‘systemically important’ companies in line for state support in times of economic downturn, reports.

Anatoly Shirokov, who is also the Russian government’s plenipotentiary for the development of Russia’s far eastern regions, argues that the loss of even one of those airlines which operate in the country’s Far East and Arctic regions would be disastrous for people living in remote localities where, in most cases, air connections are the only available means of transportation.

Shirokov sent his proposals to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, soliciting support for Aeroflot Group subsidiary Aurora Airlines, IrAero, Aeroservis, Siberian Light Aviation, Yamal, Yakutiya, Polar Airlines, Khabarovsk Airlines, Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, Chukotavia, National Air Medical Service and Russian Helicopter Systems.

If even one of these carriers were to fail or experience disruptions, the consequences for remote communities could be “comparable to those of the coronavirus pandemic,” the senator stressed.

The number of Russia’s ‘systemically important’ companies has only just grown threefold to include 600 companies, the Russian government revealed on March 21, but the list has not yet been officially published. The listed companies can count on priority state support, including loans with reduced interest rates, state guarantees for investment projects, debt refinancing schemes and other measures.

The list reportedly includes the country’s largest airlines Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines, and Utair, as well as the four major hub airports of Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo, and Pulkovo.

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