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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transaero Vows to Sue Aeroflot

Private airline Transaero on Monday accused Aeroflot of ticket dumping and said it wants $30 million in damages from the nation's top carrier.

Transaero officials said Aeroflot has been selling tickets at below cost to gain market share on its London, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv routes, and it would make a final decision on pursuing its claim in court at its board meeting later this month.

"We think and are ready to prove that Aeroflot is involved in unfair competition by purposefully lowering its prices," Transaero's spokesman Sergei Bykhal said by telephone Monday.

The head of Aeroflot's revenue department, Yevgeny Bachurin, flatly denied Transaero's accusation and blamed Transaero for initiating a price war.

"On the Moscow-London route, Transaero began dumping and we just followed," Bachurin said by telephone Monday, adding that before Aeroflot added evening flights to its London schedule there was no problem with Transaero, which only flies to London in the evenings.

"Day flights cost around $400 and our evening flights are $215 against Transaero's $225 — here we do compete because Transaero's evening flights are better known," Bachurin said.

Bykhal said Transaero was also upset with the fact that Transportation Minister Sergei Frank has ignored numerous requests to review Aeroflot's pricing policy.

Frank is also the chairman of Aeroflot's board of directors.

He said Transaero chairman Alexander Pleshakov brought up the issue at a government meeting late last month on the future of aviation leasing but was ignored by Frank.

Bykhal would not detail how Transaero came up with the figure of $30 million, saying only that the figure was an approximate estimation over the course of several years.

A sample check by The Moscow Times showed that during April the cheapest economy class ticket to London on Transaero was $241 roundtrip, vs. Aeroflot's $256. An economy class ticket to Frankfurt on Transaero was $327, while Aeroflot offered the same flight for $332.

Travel agencies polled Monday said it was Aeroflot's right to name whatever prices it wants.

"Aeroflot cannot be charged under anti-monopoly laws because it's not the only carrier flying to the destinations [Transaero is complaining about]," said Yelena Nikitina, commercial director at Lanta-Tour-Voyage agency.