Moscow-based Red Wings airline (WZ) is considering launching flights from the Republic of Dagestan, establishing a new base at Makhachkala (MCX). The carrier, which has not yet announced how many aircraft it will base there, wants to launch 2X-daily MCX-Moscow flights and several international destinations.
Speaking at the Bahrain International Airshow, WZ owner Alexander Lebedev said the carrier lost nearly $12 million because of last year’s social and political unrest in Egypt. WZ is estimating its 2011 full-year loss to be RUB700 million ($22.2 million), with a revenue of RUB4.5 billion. Last year’s political disturbances in North Africa also contributed to the loss.
WZ, which specializes in charter flights to leisure destinations, carried around 900,000 passengers in 2011. Dagestan authorities are seeking to base the carrier after Dagestan Airlines (N2) lost its air operators certificate at the end of 2011.
WZ operates eight Tupolev Tu-204s; N2 had a fleet of Tu-154s. WZ representatives said it will be easy to teach N2 pilots, who lose their jobs after the airline ceased operations, to fly the Tu-204, alleviating its pilot shortage.