New Air Carrier Makes Maiden Flight From Ufa
US-made Boeings have ceased to be something unusual for Russian air passengers. This country's carriers add foreign craft to their fleets. The reason is clear - domestic airplanes are in short supply and the number of passengers is on the rise.
On April 10, the Boeing-757-200 acquired by the recently founded "Bashkortostan" Air Company started on its maiden flight from Ufa to Moscow. The colours of Bashkortostan's state flag - blue, white and green - indicate that the plane belongs to the company which aims at becoming the Republic's No. 1 carrier. The lettering along the fuselage runs "Air - Bashkortostan". The freshly painted plane that has just arrived looks very attractive. Many would like to see the inside since few people have flown in a Boeing. It should be stated though that Russian-made Tupolev-154's are not inferior. The Ufa crew will pilot the new airliner with Captain Oleg Shashkov in command.
A modest but solemn ceremony was held at "Ufa" International Airport several hours before the Boeing's departure for Moscow, participating in which was President Murtaza Rakhimov of Bashkortostan. The head of the Republic and the accompanying party were invited to inspect the airplane. The cabin seating 220 passengers looks spacious and impressive. The Boeing cockpit crew consists of only two members - Captain and Pilot. According to the requirements, the Russian cockpit crew numbers four people.
Passengers will be more comfortable flying in Boeing-757's, the main advantage being that they are less noisy. Another important merit is a lower fuel consumption which makes these craft cheaper to operate. All the rest depends on the crew professionalism. You may be sure that our pilots will be up to the mark. Many employees of the new Bashkortostan" Air Company worked for "Bashkir Airlines" for a long time servicing international routes. Unfortunately, the latter company has gone bankrupt.
Having appreciated the interior design of the Boeing cabin and having taken lots of pictures, the journalists gathered in the VIP-hall of the first terminal to talk to Sergei Belousov, "VIM-Avia's" Vice President in charge of developing "Bashkortostan" Air Company. He told the media people that the parent company had purchased a batch of Boeings on quite favourable terms. With proper operation and maintenance the craft will be able to remain in service for several decades. Routine maintenance works will be performed at the specialized centres in Moscow, and the craft will be sent to Munich for most complicated repairs.
According to Sergei Belousov, Boeings' operational parameters make them superior to other craft, Airbuses, for example. These US-made planes can land at practically every airport in Russia. Boeings are convenient and comfortable for long-distance routes. "Bashkortostan" Air Company has plans to purchase two more Boeings before the end of the current year and the total number of craft will reach 11, including several Russian-made ones.
On the same day President Murtaza Rakhimov of Bashkortostan inspected the progress of the refurbishment works at "Ufa" International Airport. This project is known to be on the list of major undertakings to be implemented before the coming great event - the 450th anniversary of Bashkiria's voluntary entry into Russia. According to Anatoli Privalov, the Airport's General Director, the renovation works are progressing at a good pace and they do not adversely affect the number of flights or service quality. The reconstruction completed, Ufa's Airport will meet the latest requirements and will become even more attractive for partner air carriers. Both passengers and the airport staff will feel quite comfortable there. The terminal will get telescopic passenger loading bridges, escalators and a convenient baggage claim area.