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Air Moldova is an airline based in Chişinăumarker, Moldovamarker. It is the national airline of Moldova and operates scheduled services to destinations in Europe. Its main base is Chişinău International Airportmarker.

The Air Moldova air operators certificate permits the transport of passengers, goods and mail (at July 2007).

History

Airbus A320-200 of Air Moldova
The airline was established and started operations in 1992 on the basis of the local Aeroflot unit. It is wholly owned by the Republic of Moldova and has 598 employees. On July 13, 2004, Air Moldova became an IATA member.

In 2001 the first western aircraft was added to the fleet, an Embraer 145 jet replacing Russian equipment.

In 2003, the aircraft livery and the corporate logo were changed. On December 15, 2004, Air Moldova started its frequent flyer programme, Air Moldova Club.

Air Moldova's passenger growth was about 20% in 2007.

On the 1st of January 2008 Air Moldova adopted the low-cost model. This step could make Air Moldova more competitive in the near term, when the Moldovan aviation market will be further liberalized in 2009, and may attract more passengers that now travel using ground transportation. The first low-cost flight will be to Moscow/Domodedovo with prices starting at 39 euros (one way without taxes). The government is still protecting the national carrier from local competition by Moldavian Airlines and foreign airlines. Aerosvit of Ukraine and other airlines are not allowed to operate night flights which offer good connections to other parts of the world.

October 22 the communist parliament voted to privatize Air Moldova.

Until now Air Moldova was on the list of unsellable state companies. Because of lack of funds for investment, the communist government decided in June 2008 to privatize Air Moldova according to wirtschaftsblatt.at.

Moldavian branch of Aeroflot

The origin of Air Moldova can be traced to September 19, 1944, when the first unit of Po-2 transport aircraft arrived in Chisinau and the Moldovan Independent Squadron was established. Aside from fifteen aircraft of the Po-2 type operating domestic flights and serving in agriculture, there were also two Li-2, which were used on flights to Moscow, some Ukrainian cities and to Black Sea and Caucasus summer resorts. In the 1960's, considerable steps in the development of the local airline industry were made. A new airport in Chisinau able to accommodate gas turbine aircraft opened early in the decade. The enterprise received status of Civil Aviation Administration in 1965 and new An-10, An-12 and An-24 aircraft expanded its fleet. Regular flights to many cities in the USSR were begun and the transportation of fruits and vegetables grown in Moldova to the largest industrial centers of the USSR was established.

The beginning of the 1970's was marked by the appearance of jet aircraft on Moldova's main air routes. The first Tu-134 began service in Moldova in 1971 and became the main aircraft of the enterprise, increasing in number until at one point 26 of them were in use. In Chisinau there was even an all-union test basis for aircraft of this type. The fleet was further enlarged in 1972 with the Yak-42 regional aircraft and in 1974 with the An-26 cargo aircraft. The route map kept expanding and the flow of traffic kept growing throughout the decade. In the middle of the 1980's, Moldovan operations received ten Tu-154 aircraft, furthering the development of Moldovan aviation. At that time Moldovan aircraft flew to 73 cities in the USSR and carried over 1.000.000 passengers per year. In 1990 the first international route between Chisinau and Frankfurt-am-Main was opened.

Destinations

Fleet

The Air Moldova fleet consists of the following aircraft as of 9th March 2009:

Type In
Service
Passengers
(Business/Economy)
Notes
Airbus A320-200 3 173 (8/165) ER-AXV since 21 September 2003, ER-AXT since 25 September 2007, ER-AXP since 6 March 2009.
Embraer 120 1 30 Operated by Tandem Aero.
Embraer 190 0 (1 on order) 100 Entry into service: 2010
Yakovlev Yak-40 1 VIP ER-YGD operated for the Moldovan government.
Tupolev Tu-134 1 VIP ER-65140 operated for the Moldovan government.


History of the fleet

In 2001, Air Moldova leased Embraer 120 and 145 aircraft. The two Yakovlev Yak-42s went back to Russia in late 2003 and 2004. The last Tupolev Tu-154B (ER-85285) was destroyed on July 5, 2006.

In November 2006, 93.1 million Moldovian Lei (about 6 Million Euro) were transferred from the 2006 state budget to Air Moldova. With another 9 million Lei taken from a bank, one of the two Airbus 320 will be bought. The opposition has doubts about the transparency of this deal.

In June 2007, Air Moldova gave back one Airbus 320 to the lessor after 38 months of service.

A MD-82 (SX-BSQ) from SkyWings has been leased for 5 months from 15. May till end of October 2007.

The Tupolev Tu-134 operated the Moscow and Istanbul flights more often when the second Airbus left the fleet. In the past Air Moldova chartered a Cirrus B735, the Moldavian Airlines Fokker 100, a Bulgarian Air VIA A320, Jet Tran Air MD81/82s and a Khors Aircompany M82 as a replacement.The Yak-40 replaces the Embraer 120 (e.g. to Prague or Vienna) when that aircraft is in maintenance.

The first Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia was part of the fleet from 12 October 2001 until 28 September 2006 when it was transferred to Tandem Aero.

The second Embraer 120RT flew between 23 April 2004 and 26 March 2005 for Air Moldova.

In general the fleet has recorded a dramatic change from obsolete soviet aircraft to more modern western-built equipment, but the aircraft still lack proper care and service and often cause disruptions and delays as they break down quite often.

Embraer has signed a firm order with the Moldovan flag carrier Air Moldova for one one-class Embraer 190 regional jet. The contract includes purchase rights for another aircraft. Delivery is scheduled for March 2010.

Services

One can buy electronic tickets (e-tickets) on the website of Air Moldova[43649]. The credit card used when paying for one's flight on-line must be presented in some cases at check-in to prevent fraud. Frequent travellers can collect miles and earn free flights. The in-flight meals offer a choice of cheese, meat and vegetables, together with some dessert. The choice of newspapers is quite limited and is sometimes not offered at all, however there is an informative and entertaining in-flight magazine about Moldova that runs in a glossy print every two months.

External links



References

  1. Air Moldova
  2. http://www.azi.md/news?ID=51659 Communists vote for privatization of Air Moldova, azi.md
  3. All Moldova
  4. Airfleets
  5. Airliners



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