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Rouble rate causing a problem for airlines in Sakha, Vladimir Putin warned

By The Siberian Times reporter
22 August 2015

Republic head Yegor Borisov outlines difficulties for transport in Russia's largest region.

Sukhoi Superjet-100 in Yakutsk airport. Picture: Yakutia Airlines

The Russian president was told of the strain for the Sakha Republic caused by the fluctuating rate of the country's rouble currency against the dollar.

The Siberian region - the largest and coldest in Russia - is finding it harder to buy and operate domestic aircraft under leasing agreements, President Putin was told at a meeting with Yegor Borisov, head of a region also known as Yakutia. 

'We support Polar Airlines as much as we can under the republic government's control,' he said. 'But there are difficulties with aircraft, specifically with buying them. Unfortunately, there is a problem with domestic planes as we have to look for other planes, and we are trying to take them in leasing.'

He added: 'We also support main airline Yakutia - but it is very difficult, as we bought (Sukhoi) Superjet-100 planes under leasing, bought other planes, but unfortunately, the risks of leasing payments increased due to rising the U.S. dollar's exchange rate.'

Despite the foreign exchange issues - caused mainly by falling oil prices but exacerbated by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis - Mr Borisov reported that the region's gross regional product is expected to grow by two percent this year. 

'The investment situation is stable and the region is carrying out its housing construction programmes as planned,' reported a Kremlin statement. 'Developing air transport in the region was also a subject of discussion.'

The meeting with the president was to discuss the socioeconomic situation in the Sakha Republic, famous as Russia's diamond-producing region which is also seen as having vast untapped tourist potential. 

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