German carrier Lufthansa AG has announced that it had agreed to a new strategic partnership with Russian airline AirUnion on Wednesday. The move by the airline is intended to boost its ties in Russia's rising economy.
Lufthansa said that the deal would help the German airline to fan out its operations in Russia. The deal between the German airline and the Russian carrier would include a code-sharing agreement and cooperation on frequent flyer programmes.
The deal came out after a meeting between Lufthansa chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber and Boris Abramovich, a Russian businessman and a key shareholder in the Russian airline, in Moscow
Mayrhuber said, ¬"Russia is for our customers an important destination¬".
AirUnion is Russia's second-biggest airline after Aeroflot and was formed following a merger of five regional airlines including KrasAir, Domodedovo Airlines, Omskavia, Samara and Sibaviatrans airlines.
AirUnion carried 4.9 million passengers last year compared to 8.75 million for Aeroflot.
In recent years, the German airlines Lufthansa has attempted to reach a cooperation agreement with Aeroflot. However, Aeroflot signed up to the Air France-KLM SkyTeam instead of the Star Alliance group. Lufthansa is a leading member the Star Alliance group.
On Tuesday, Lufthansa announced that its global traffic figures had reached a record level of about 27 million passengers in the first half of 2007, representing a 5.9 per cent growth compared to the performance of the airline in 2005 for the same period.