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Aeroflot and Transaero are to merge after the national carrier’s board voted to buy 75% plus one share of the country’s second carrier. Transaero has debts amounting to some $990m, so Aeroflot is expected to pay just one ruble for the stake. It will likely give the combined carrier a 50% share of the domestic passenger market. Transaero said in a statement it had been hit by a “perfect storm” of the ruble’s devaluation, and high payouts on foreign currency loans for its expanded fleet. But the combined carrier could be boosted by rivals leaving the market. Finnair is to suspend its services to Nizhny Novgorod next year, while Cathay and Thai have already left the market. Delta and Lufthansa have also cut services to Russia.

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