NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Start-up carrier Baltia Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday it agreed to buy its first Boeing 747 jetliner. Baltia plans to fly between New York and St. Petersburg, Russia, then expand service to Moscow and cities in the former Soviet Union. According to its Web site, ticket sales are not yet available, subject to regulatory approval. Barry Clare, the airline's vice president of finance, said the company has begun the process of getting certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. The airline has submitted operating manuals and must hire and train pilots and crew, conduct an evacuation test and proving flights. Clare said Baltia hopes to get FAA certification by year end. Clare said the airline will start with just the one plane and believes it can generate $100 million a year in revenue if it can fill that plane nearly two-thirds full on New York-St. Petersburg flights. The company also plans to fly cargo and mail.
According to regulatory filings, CEO Igor Dmitrowsky, a U.S. citizen born in Latvia, owns 43 percent of the company. In the March quarter, the company issued 4.8 million shares for cash and 19.9 million in exchange for services at 3 to 5 cents each, and it issued 44 million shares for the exercise of options by Dmitrowsky. The company missed a deadline for filing its second-quarter financial report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and has been late in making other filings. Over-the-counter shares of Baltia were trading for less than 4 cents each on Wednesday morning.