Aeroflot boss cals for 'state protectionism' to defend Russian aviation

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Dec 28 (Reuters) - The head of Russia's state-controlled airline Aeroflot called on the Russian government to "balance the interests" of Russian and foreign airlines in order to support the domestic aviation sector, in an interview with Russian news site RBC published on Wednesday.

In the interview, Aeroflot CEO Sergei Alexandrovsky said it is "important that the state balances the interests of Russian and international carriers. Because it is obvious that foreign carriers now have much more opportunities and advantages in these conditions".

Russian airlines stopped flying to most overseas destinations after Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions, including bans on Russian carriers, after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Routes to Turkey and Middle Eastern countries popular with Russian tourists have been preserved.

Alexandrovsky said that competitors, including Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) and Emirates (EMIRA.UL) had benefitted most from the situation, and called for a degree of what he called "state protectionism" to safeguard domestic aviation.

Reporting by Reuters, Editing by Louise Heavens

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