As a strategic partner of AiR Union, Austrian Airlines is mentoring the company’s desire to gain membership of the Star Alliance.AiR Union is increasingly developing from a marketing alliance of five airlines into an integrated airline with a joint air operating certificate. Its aim, however, is to become a strong and competitive partner, not only in Russia but also on the international stage. Once AiR Union has completed the process of integration, it will strive to gain membership of the Star Alliance. AiR Union will have to complete the necessary preparatory steps and fulfil all the requirements to join the Star Alliance.
As strategic partners of AiR Union, Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa support this goal, with Austrian playing a mentoring role for the Russian grouping. This has been recorded in a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 16 November between Austrian CEO Alfred ?-tsch, Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber and the Chiefs of the Supervisory Committee of AiR Union, Alexander and Boris Abramovich.
CEO Alfred ?-tsch issued the following statement on the occasion of the announcement: ‘We shall offer every support to AiR Union that we possibly can in an effort to enable the company to meet the criteria and requirements for membership of the Star Alliance. A definitive decision regarding new airlines’ gaining membership of the Star Alliance needs to be reached unanimously by all its existing members. With the full support of Lufthansa, we see ourselves playing a leading role in this process, and will actively partner AiR Union as it prepares to join the Star Alliance. I am pleased that our co-operation is intensifying as a result, and that it has a long-term perspective.’
In order to secure the strategically important economic region of the Russian Federation and continue building upon its market position, the Austrian Airlines Group agreed on a co-operation with AiR Union in 2006. The Austrian Airlines Group currently flies to five key centres of economic activity in Russia. In addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Austrian scheduled programme includes Yekaterinburg, and Rostov on Don and Krasnodar in the south of the country. The company already has landing rights for two other destinations in Russia.
AiR Union is an alliance of five Russian airlines - Kras Air, Omskavia, Samara Airlines, Domodedovo Airlines and Sibaviatrans - that was formed in 2004. Moscow Domodedovo Airport is an ideal hub for transfer passengers using the extensive route network of AiR Union in Central and Eastern Russia, which stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Coast.