The new regional airline, called Taiga, is going to be set up by reorganizing several existing Russian airlines and consolidating all Russian Far East air services under one company.
“The regions of Russian Far East have agreed on the organizational and legal form of the united air carrier company – The Union of Regional Carriers. All carriers, belonging to the union, will fly under a single brand – Taiga. A map of destinations is already confirmed, and we are preparing to sign the main agreement,” a press release by the government of Sakhalin region states.
Taiga is going to serve over 500 destinations deemed socially important. According to Sakhalin media, the new company is going to be created by renaming helicopter company Aviashelf, which sunk into debt after losing its primary customer Gazprom. Fleets of other regional carriers, presumably, are going to be transitioned to it later.
In 2013, the name Taiga was selected for a new Far East subsidiary of Aeroflot, later renamed Aurora. Currently Aurora conducts heavily subsidized flights to socially important destinations, using Airbus A319, Bombardier Dash 8 and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 aircraft. It is unclear if it is going to be merged with Taiga or the consolidation will stop short of removing one of Aeroflot’s subsidiaries.
One of features of Taiga, according to Russian media, is a focus on expanding its fleet with Russian-made aircraft, such as the upcoming Ilyushin Il-114-300 turboprop. But, according to news site Sakhalin.info, at least one newly built DHC-6-400 with Taiga livery was already spotted in Canada in early October 2020, before the new airline was even announced. It is possible that the aircraft was initially ordered for Aviashelf.