Russian airfreight newcomer Direct-Avia will commence flights this summer with two Tupolev Tu-204-100S freighters. The new carrier was founded in December 2014, under the auspices of logistics and transport company Aircargo+. The two aircraft, were both built in 2009 and were previously operated by Russian carrier Transaero, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
The plans still require approval from the Federal Air Transport Agency, according to Direct-Avia’s CEO, Sergey Kukarev. However, the carrier is going ahead with acceptance procedures for the two Tu-204-100S’s at Domodedovo Airport in the interim. Direct-Avia will be based out of Vnukovo Airport, which will allow it to work with the freight and mail center, Vnukovo Cargo.
Kukarev told Russia Aviation Insider that he is confident that the company will be able to expand by growing its fleet of Russian-made aircraft. He explained that, “the Tu-204 freighters are fairly competitive; they have a niche of their own, one that has been virtually unoccupied since Transaero folded.” He added that, “in addition, our lease agreement with IFC is denominated in Russian rubles, which is an obvious advantage in the current economic situation.”
The company has also picked up a number of Transaero’s specialists who were laid off in 2015. The Insider reported that Direct-Avia has plans for both domestic and international routes. The source also reported that the airline has established contracts with Chinese partners for air cargo services between the two countries.