MOSCOW, JANUARY 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is waiting for the final bid results on the contract for managing the Sheremetyevo airport, a source in the Cabinet revealed to RIA Novosti.

It is premature to make any assessments at this point in time; we need first to make sure that there have been no violations in the bidding process and that all the rules have been obeyed, the source said. According to him, a shareholder meeting in February will make a final decision as to which of the bidders should be awarded the contract.

In the subsequent six months, the successful bidder will have to develop and submit a development strategy for the airport, our interviewee said. Valery Okulov, Chief Executive of Aeroflot Airlines, Russia's major air carrier, said Thursday that his company may dispute the bid results, but that he did not think such a move would be productive enough. He also said that Aeroflot might have to leave Sheremetyevo for some other airport, say Domodedovo. The company hopes to resume its usual operations soon, he said. "We won't let ourselves be discouraged, and will be pushing for Sheremetyevo's development," Okulov remarked emphatically.

"The airport is gravely ill; competent specialists should be invited to get it back on its feet, not financiers," the Aeroflot CEO pointed out, referring to the financial group Alfa, which is the most likely winner of the contract. Alfa's win is bad news not just for Aeroflot, but for the passengers using Sheremetyevo Airport's services, too, he argues.

Okulov said he was certain that the bid results would not influence the Star Alliance's stance on Aeroflot membership (the Star Alliance is an international association of air carriers). "The situation is a lamentable one, but our Western partners feel no hopeless pessimism about that," he said.

Iter Terminal, a company co-established by Aeroflot Airlines and the National Reserve Bank, has lost the bid for the contract to run Sheremetyevo Airport. According to preliminary bid results, the contract will be awarded to Alfa Sheremetyevo, a subsidiary of Alfa Bank.

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