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Russia: TransAero Spokeswoman Denies Intent To Purchase TWA

Moscow, 31 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A spokeswoman for Russia's second largest airline, TransAero, today denied reports that the company is planning to buy the US carrier Trans World Airlines (TWA).

The head of public relations for TransAero, Natalia Aleksashina, told RFE/RL today that reports of a buyout of TWA are "absolute nonsense." She says TransAero's Vice-President, Grigory Gurtovoi, has been in discussions with TWA on forming a "partnership" that would enable the two airlines to share flight routes and coordinate ticketing and reservations.

Aleksashina says the companies are preparing the cooperation agreement, which she said could be tied up early next month. She declined to give financial details of the deal.

Gurtovoi was quoted today in the Moscow Times as denying the two airlines were preparing a merger, but he said there are plans for what he called a "strategic partnership."

Earlier reports said investors with the US-based Strategic Capital Group were involved in brokering the takeover deal.

TransAero, serving more than 30 destinations worldwide, has grown rapidly since being founded in 1990. It has been searching for a US parnter to expand its international flight routes. The planned alliance would give TWA access to Russia and other untapped markets in the former Soviet Union.