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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Airlines Report $220 Million Loss

Russian airlines lost $220 million last year and more than 100 carriers went out of business because fewer passengers could afford to fly than in 1995, statistics released Thursday showed.

The poor results, which followed a profitable 1995, coincided with a 15-percent fall in passengers numbers, the Federal Aviation Service said in a report.

"It was a very difficult year for Russian civil aviation," Gennady Zaitsev, the service's director told his agency's annual board meeting. "We hoped that 1996 results would be better."

He said 118 Russian airlines lost permission to operate in 1996 and another 58 carriers may soon be join the list.

Nearly 200 Russian airlines, most created out of the domestic routes of the old Aeroflot aviation monopoly following the fall of communism, have gone out of business in the last three years, he said.

Zaitsev said 328 airlines had the right to operate regular and charter flights in Russia, compared with 520 carriers three years ago.

Experts blame the aviation industry's woes on the overall economic troubles of Russia, and Zaitsev said airlines remain in deep crisis.

Officials from several airlines also said high fuel and landing fees hurt them in 1996.

"In 1996 there were very high fuel and airport charges practically everywhere in Russia," said Oleg Solovyov, flight director of Vnukovo Airlines, one of Russia's larger domestic carriers.

He said his airline suffered from non-payment from tour operators who leased their jets for charter flights.

The report showed that Russian airlines lost a total of 1.2 trillion ruble ($213 million) in 1996 on income of 23.1 trillion rubles.

In 1995, the industry made a profit of 353 billion rubles on income of 17 trillion.

Zaitsev said passenger traffic dropped 15 percent to 26.9 million passengers last year from 31 million in 1995. He attributed the drop to higher ticket costs.

International routes of Russian carriers saw a rise of almost 30 percent in passenger kilometers last year compared with 1995.

But domestic passenger kilometers fell by nearly the same amount, according to the report.