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Business

Russia's Transaero carrier sliding towards bankruptcy

Russia's second-largest carrier, Transaero, sees no option left to avoid bankruptcy. Authorities have called on the airline to stop selling tickets after rival Aeroflot backed out of purchasing it for a symbolic price.

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Friday bankruptcy was the only solution for Russia's Transaero after

state-controlled flagship carrier Aeroflot

rejected a deal to absorb the embattled airline's debts.

"The search for other options has not led to positive results," the minister said. "We are proceeding on the basis that bankruptcy is the only option left."

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said Transaero could no longer meet its financial obligations in their entirety. The civil aviation authority ordered the carrier to stop selling tickets.

No way out

"The company has absolutely no prospects; it has huge debts and its operations have been loss-making for three years in a row," Sberbank chief German Gref said in a statement.

Aeroflot's General Director, Vitaly Savalyev, was quoted as saying that Transaero could stop all flights as soon as October 15. Transaero's shares fell by almost 20 percent in Moscow trading on Friday.

Aeroflot had originally planned to acquire a controlling majority of 75 percent in a government-approved deal. But in the end, it did not manage to agree with Transaero creditors on restructuring debt totaling an estimated $3.78 billion (3.35 billion euros).

hg/nz (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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