Lufthansa moves to boost Russian business with AirUnion deal


German airline Lufthansa AG moved Wednesday to boost its ties in Russia's booming economy by announcing that it had agreed to a new strategic partnership with Russian carrier AirUnion. 

Lufthansa said that the deal, which would include a code-sharing agreement and cooperation on frequent flyer programs, would help the German airline to expand its operations in Russia. The deal with AirUnion followed a meeting in Moscow between Lufthansa chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber and Russian businessman Boris Abramovich, who is a key shareholder in the Russian airline. “Russia is for our customers an important destination,” said Mayrhuber.

AirUnion is Russia's second-biggest airline after Aeroflot and was formed following a merger of five regional airlines including KrasAir, Domodedovo Airlines, Omskavia, Samara and Sibaviatrans airlines. Last year AirUnion carried 4.9 million passengers compared to 8.75 million for Aeroflot. Lufthansa has in recent years attempted to reach a cooperation arrangement with Aeroflot. However, instead of the Star Alliance group, which Lufthansa is a leading member of, Aeroflot signed up to the Air France-KLM SkyTeam.

Lufthansa announced Tuesday that its global traffic figures had hit a record level in the H1 of 2007 of about 27 million passengers. This represented a 5.9% increase during the first six months of the year compared to the same term in 2005. (



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