Transport Minister Ján Figeľ met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his visit to Russia and told the SITA newswire on February 23 that restoration of flights between Bratislava and Moscow is quite very realistic.
Regarding the future of the wide-gauge railroad project, Figeľ stated that a four-party analysis of its extension is underway, with Ukraine, Austria, Russia and Slovakia participating in it. Figeľ said the reserved position of the Slovak government on this project is due to a lack of finances for such an extensive investment. The minister did confirm Slovakia’s interest in modernising the wide-gauge railway track and its transhipment points in Slovakia.
The Slovak minister also met with the chief executive of the Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, who confirmed the company's interest in access to infrastructure of EU countries and cooperation with railway operators of EU member states. The minister said that Slovakia’s government's programme statement calls for finding a strategic partner for the Slovak rail freight company, Cargo Slovakia, which currently also operates on the wide-gauge track.
The main obstacle facing restoration of regular flights between Bratislava and Moscow is changing the current inter-state agreement which only allows the two state-owned national air carriers, Slovenské aerolínie and Russian Aeroflot, to operate the line. Aeroflot has cancelled its flights several times, the last time in May 2010, the Sme daily wrote on February 24. Slovenské aerolínie does not currently operate.
The new agreement on flights between Slovakia and Russia should be signed in the coming weeks, SITA wrote.
Source: SITA, Sme
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24. Feb 2011 at 14:00