Virgin in talks for launch of airline in Russia

Moscow: Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson has said that talks are on with a potential Russian partner about launching an airline in the Russian market.

Addressing a news conference in Moscow on the sidelines of an investor conference, Branson said, "Now is the time for Virgin to come to Russia."

"We are in discussions with a Russian partner," he said. "We will announce in three months who that partner will be."

Branson remarked that it would be better to do "something from scratch" rather than partner with an existing carrier. "You can make sure of the quality and avoid all of those cobwebs you might otherwise get," he explained.

"We're looking to take on the airlines here," he added. He also promised that the Virgin carrier "will be the best" in the market.

According to Branson, Russians don't fly as often as people in Western Europe. "There's a lot of potential to take business away from the rail service," he said.