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Kiev in discussions with low-cost German air carrier

The Ukrainian government is in discussions with a low-cost German air carrier on entrance into the former Soviet republic’s passenger market, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.

“Within a month there will be, it seems, a decision on the German company,” said Transport Minister Iosif Vinsky. He declined to give reporters the airline’s name. The transport ministry is also conducting talks with an Arab budget carrier on operations in Ukraine, according to the report.

Were the talks to succeed the German carrier would become the second low-cost foreign airline after Hungarian Wizz Air working in Ukraine’s domestic passenger market. Wizz Air is scheduled to begin operations in Ukraine in June.

Ukraine’s air passenger market has grown dramatically in recent years, with an estimated 30% expansion projected for 2008 alone. The highly-regulated sector currently is dominated by a few Ukrainian airlines charging rates as much as three times higher than the ticket prices offered by budget carriers over similar distances. (m&