Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aeroflot, Cubana de Aviacion to create joint enterprise

Aeroflot, Cubana de Aviacion to create joint enterprise
30.01.2009, 15.32

MOSCOW, January 30 (Itar-Tass) -- The Aeroflot and Cubana de Aviacion
air companies are considering a possibility of the creation of a joint
enterprise, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin reported on Friday.

"Cubana de Aviacion and Aeroflot are discussing cooperation prospects
and a possibility of the creation of a joint enterprise," he said.

Sechin did not mention the value of the contract between the two air
companies. "This is confidential information not to be divulged," he

In Soviet times Aeroflot and its Cuban partner Cubana de Aviacion
handled with difficulty the passenger traffic between the two countries,
which amounted to dozens of thousands of people a year. Some years the
number of Cuban students studying in the USSR reached 12,000, and
thousands of Cuban officers studied at Soviet military schools and
academies. Aside from it thousands of Soviet teachers and consultants in
various spheres of economy, education, science and culture worked in
Cuba that time. Hundreds of Soviet officers shared their experience with
Cuban colleagues.

In the pre-crisis times all those people went to the USSR at least once
a year to spend their vacation and Aeroflot together with Cubana de
Aviacion, which had about ten flights a week, were fully occupied.

In the 90s the passenger traffic was perceptibly reduced, following the
reduction of bilateral trade turnover. Aeroflot, and later Cubana de
Aviacion, had to reduce the number of flights by several times, but over
the past few years the number of Russians wishing to visit Cuba again
began to grow, and the air companies became busy again. Aeroflot brought
the number of flights to four a week, plus the charter flights of other
air companies, which mostly transported tourists going to the famous
health resort of Varadero. The number of Russian tourists going to Cuba
reached some 40,000 in 2008.

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