Atlant Soyuz Seen Acquiring AiRUnion

VedomostiVnukovo Airport head Vasily Alexandrov, left, speaking with Vladimir Davydov, then-CEO of Atlant Soyuz, in 2006.
Troubled airline alliance AiRUnion will be folded into Atlant Soyuz, an airline owned by the Moscow city government, and move its base to Vnukovo Airport, Interfax reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

The merged airline will be owned by the governments of Moscow and the Krasnoyarsk region and state-controlled Russian Technologies under a tentative agreement reached Wednesday night, the report said.

Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Khloponin said his administration would participate in the creation of a new airline out of AiRUnion, an alliance of five airlines including KrasAir, Domodedovo Airlines and Samara Airlines.

"The regional leadership has told the Russian government that it is ready to take part in a project to create a new, core airline whose chief owners should be the state in the form of Russian Technologies," Khloponin said, Interfax reported.

AiRUnion and Atlant Soyuz had no immediate comment Thursday.

Thousands of AiRUnion passengers have been stranded over the past month after fuel companies cut off supplies because of unpaid bills. The debt-ridden alliance has blamed high fuel prices for its problems.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has accused domestic jet-fuel providers of exorbitant prices, has interceded on behalf of AiRUnion several times and has ordered Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov to make sure that the company does not go bankrupt.

AiRUnion is to start transferring its fleet and infrastructure from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to Vnukovo, Atlant Soyuz's home base, on Sunday and complete the move by the end of the month.