Russia to privatize state airline Aeroflot

The Russian state currently holds a 51-per-cent stake in the company.

Kurdin named the operator of Russia's merchant cargo fleet, Sovkomflot, as another state firm to be privatized. Other enterprises slated for the auction block operate in the financial and energy sectors, he said.

Russia's government hopes to sell more than 30 billion dollars' worth of state-owned company shares by 2014, he said.

At an investor conference in mid-June, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for aggressive privatization and reduction of "excessive" government control of the economy.

He criticized the dominant role of government-owned companies in the Russian economy, saying state ownership of too many firms acted as a brake against economic development.

Aeroflot during the Soviet era was the largest airline in the world. It is currently a top player in Russia's air passenger transport market, operating some 100 aircraft to 50 domestic and international destinations.