Jul. 5 – OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, announced the commencement of regular domestic and international flights of Taimyr Corporate Airlines (NordStar) from the Central Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
According to a company press-release, expanding the geographic span of flight routes is conducted in accordance with the airline communication development cooperation agreement concluded between MMC Norilsk Nickel and the government of the Krasnoyarsk region in 2010.
The territory of the Krasnoyarsk region is 10 times the size of Great Britain or four and a half times the size of France. Krasnoyarsk city is a regional capital with 1.15 million citizens.
The region is among the top 10 regions in Russia with an annual gross regional product of US$40 billion.
The expansion of NordStar flight routes is carried out along two directions. Short-distance flights from Krasnoyarsk to the destinations within the region (Baikit, Vanavara, Igarka, Podkamennaya Tunguska, Severo-Yeniseisk, Turuhansk) as well as to the main Siberian cities and industrial centers like Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Surgut, Tomsk, Ulan-Ude and Chita on four new ATR 42-500 turboprop aircrafts, manufactured by Franco- Italian group ATR.
Mid-range passenger flights will be conducted using Boeing-737-800 NG type aircrafts flying from Krasnoyarsk to the Southern Russia’s cities like Anapa, Krasnodar, Mineralnie Vody, Sochi, and to the Russian Far East (Khabarovsk, Vladivostok).
The company also plans regular flights to Central Asia (Dushanbe and Tashkent) as well as to Chinese Beijing and Sanya starting from July, 2011.
The primary objective of Norilsk Nickel’s aviation project is to provide affordable and reliable air transportation services for the residents of the Krasnoyarsk region.
The project is aiming to provide passenger transportation between the center of the region and remote areas within the region, improving transportation between Krasnoyarsk and other cities located both in Russia and abroad, thus contributing to the accomplishment of social objectives in the Group’s area.
According to Sergey Buzov, deputy general director and head of the transportation and logistics division at MMC Norilsk Nickel, the company aims to fulfill its obligations with regards to the creation of an airline company in the Krasnoyarsk region, announced in 2010.
“We consider expansion of the flight route network to be primarily a social responsibility issue. All of the flights will be conducted using the aviation technology complying with the strictest standards of comfort, economy and safety while paying close attention to the specifics of operating under Siberian and extreme North conditions,” he said.
The company also plans to spend US$200 million on infrastructure, including on the Arctic port of Dudinka and a railroad from its smelters, Buzov said.
The nickel company, which also produces natural gas in Siberia to supply its metals manufacturing, will ship as much as 200,000 tons of gas condensate to Amsterdam and bring back oil products, he said.
The key production units of the Norilsk Nickel in Russia are at the Polar and Kola Peninsulas. Company international assets include operations in Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa.
As of February 4, 2011, the company’s major shareholder was the Bank of New York International Nominees, with a stake of 39.99 percent.