ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Russian officials have agreed to grant new air routes from Alaska to three cities in the Russian Far East, Gov. Tony Knowles announced Monday.
Carriers can now offer scheduled flights from Anchorage and Nome to Anadyr, Provideniya and Lavrentiya under a new two-year bilateral agreement signed last week.
''Although we've had charter service for years, this is the first time we've had the opportunity for scheduled flights,'' said Jeff Berliner, a Russian trade specialist with the Alaska Department of Economic and Community Development.
Bering Air has been making several charter flights a week, mostly to Provideniya, Berliner said, and three other airlines -- Evergreen, Northern Air Cargo and Era -- have expressed interest in flying from Alaska to the Russian cities in the Chukotka region.
The pact also allows some Russian airlines to offer flights between cities in the Russian federation and cities in the Lower 48 if the flight also serves a city in Alaska.
Two Alaskans were in Moscow for the signing of the agreement last week, Meredith Sandler of the governor's office and Richard Page, a Soldotna pilot who has been making aid flights to Chukotka for years, Berliner said.
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