Russian airline seeks scheduled Miami-Moscow flights
By Claudio Mendonça
Russian interest in the South Florida real estate boom is prompting an airline to revive direct flights between Miami and Moscow.
Domodedovo Airlines, Russia's third-largest air carrier, has applied to begin scheduled flights three times a week linking Moscow and Miami International Airport. The company has permission for charter flights.
Authorization for scheduled flights is under review, said Bill Mosley, a spokesman for the US Department of Transportation, though department documents list operations to start April 1.
"More and more Russians interested in investing in prime real estate are interested in flying directly to Florida," said Helen Teplitskaia, founder and president of the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, based in Washington. "Miami is catching the interest of many investors."
Ms. Teplitskaia, who has visited Miami regularly in recent months, said the chamber wants to boost ties in tourism and technology. With offices in Washington and Chicago, Ms. Teplitskaia said, the chamber is in the process of opening in Miami in six months.
"Florida offers great opportunities and, in turn, we can offer an array of energy resources," she said.
Demodedovo, a former division of Russian airline Aeroflot, is an open joint-stock company half-owned by the Russian government, half by private investors.
The airline received a one-year authorization Nov. 1, 2004, to operate chartered flights to Miami. On Sept. 26, it applied for a one-year renewal and to operate scheduled flights.
The company is considering using a Yiuslin IL-96-300, an aircraft resembling a Boeing 767 that seats 300.
Domodedovo in September began inquiring about landing fees, ground handling charges and fuel costs at Miami International Airport, said airport spokesman Greg Chin.
"We would love to have a new route to Moscow, but we are still at very preliminary stages," said Mr. Chin, who said there was a direct flight to Moscow until 2000, when Aeroflot discontinued operations.
"The process is by no means a rubber stamp, as the US Department of
Transportation is very careful and thorough with these types of
applications," said Richard Richards, a Becker & Poliakoff attorney who handles aviation. "Domodedovo Airlines will face scrutiny, especially if any other airline files an objection to their application."
Objections and public comments are due Tuesday.
Details on Russian investments: American-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (202) 756-4943.