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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Charter Flights to U.S. Eyed

Two travel agencies are laying the groundwork to offer cheap charter flights to the United States. Lanta Tour-Voyage and Irene said they hope to start the flights to Orlando, Florida, in the fall.

The U.S. Embassy has offered to facilitate visa procedures for tourists, U.S. Consul General James Warlick said Monday. "They are talking about setting up a weekly charter flight that would include the whole package -- hotel and so on -- at reasonable prices," he said.

Irene manager Oksana Lyulikina said her agency is targeting families and would like to offer packages organized around Walt Disney World.

Yelena Nikitina, who is spearheading the charter bid at Lanta-Tour Voyage, said she was looking at seven- to 10-day vacation packages for tourists who would find Orlando an attractive alternative to Thailand in the winter months. The packages would start at $900.

Lanta is negotiating with Aeroflot and Icelandic Air to operate the charter flights, Nikitina said.

An Aeroflot spokeswoman said she was unaware of any negotiations.

Warlick said the plan could fly. "To us it seems to be a very good opportunity," he said. "Russia has a middle class with disposable income. If Russians can travel to Thailand and Egypt, then they can travel to the U.S."

Warlick said he could not promise that everyone on charter flights would get visas. "But package travelers tend to be legitimate travelers," he said.