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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transaero Fetes One-Millionth Rider

Transaero Airlines greeted its 1 millionth passenger of the year Monday afternoon with the kind of reception usually reserved for heads of state.

But the person who stepped out of the plane was not the president of some far-flung nation, but 6-year-old Nikita Kuznetsov of Irkutsk.

When Nikita and his mother bought tickets on Transaero's Irkutsk-Moscow flight, the reservations system popped up the magic number. This is the first year that five-year-old Transaero has crossed the 1 million mark in passenger traffic.

The event was significant for Transaero, which has been doubling passenger traffic every year since it began flying on a rented airplane. Now it has a fleet of 11 leased aircraft and will lease additional jets next year to handle its growth.

Nikita's mother, Marina Kuznetsova, who trades in "expensive clothing," as she put it, flies once a week for business, and takes Transaero as often as she can from Irkutsk to Moscow. But she took the opportunity to drop a hint.

"It doesn't always work out on the way back, though," she said.

"We're going to fly more often, we're going to fly more often," company president Alexander Pleshakov hurried to say. Pleshakov said he intends to meet with Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, head of Aeroflot, this week and hopes the two will come to an agreement on how to cooperate in the Russian market.

Nikita was showered with gifts, and he and his mother won two passes for free travel anywhere Transaero flies throughout 1996.

As Nikita sat surrounded by pilot paraphernalia, he was asked about his ambitions.

"I like to clean up in the yard," he said. "I want to be a janitor."