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Russia's UTair cuts 44% of staff

Staff writer |
UTair, Russia's third-largest airline, cut the number of its employees by 44.3 percent year-on-year in March to 4,171 people.

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The company is experiencing economic difficulties as the ruble's slump raises operating costs and raises the cost of trips abroad for Russian tourists.

The carrier spent 1.11 billion rubles ($22.4 million) on wages in the first three months of the year, or 41.3 percent less than during the same period last year. Earlier in April UTair's press office announced that the company cut 40 percent of its fleet, from 115 to 71 planes.

At the start of March the company's total debt, including its mostly foreign-currency denominated leasing agreements, stood at almost 170 billion rubles ($3.4 billion), according to A long-running battle between UTair and a top creditor, Alfa Bank, ended last week with an agreement to restructure the carrier's debts.

The ruble's fall has hit many carriers hard. Citing data from the Federal Air Transport Agency's website, news agency Interfax reported late last week that Ural Airlines had canceled service to more than 40 destinations. The majority of canceled flights were from Russian regional cities to foreign destinations.

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