UTair now Russia’s third-biggest airline; large aircraft orders allow further growth

With the launch of daily services between Moscow Vnukovo and Tallinn last month, UTair now serves the capitals of all three Baltic countries. Flights to Riga launched a year earlier and Lithuania’s capital Vilnius has been served since December 2007.

Recently released figures from Russia’s Transport Clearing House shows that UTair now ranks as Russia’s third-largest airline by passengers transported. In spite of the rapid growth of Transaero, UTair has now surpassed the airline and ranks behind only Aeroflot and S7. If looking at the domestic market only, domestically strong UTair affirms its position even further.

Source: Airline annual reports (1999-2009) and airline press release (2010)

Source: Airline annual reports (1999-2009) and airline press release (2010)

UTair’s growth in passenger numbers has been fast and consistent over the last decade. Passenger numbers have doubled in the last five years and the airline is set for another record year. In the first seven months of 2011, UTair’s passenger numbers are up by 23% compared with the same period last year. That means that the airline has transported 3.5 million passengers just over halfway into 2011 – a figure that only in 2008 was the airline’s passenger turnover for the whole year. The airline states itself that it hopes to carry over 7 million passengers in 2011.

Largest airline at Moscow Vnukovo; domestic network dominates

Although the airline is headquartered in Khanty-Mansiysk in Western Siberia, its main base is at Moscow’s city airport Vnukovo where it has a share of an entire 46% of the airport’s total seat capacity. At Vnukovo, UTair has benefited from the failure earlier this year of Moscow Airlines (previously Atlant-Soyuz Airlines) from which UTair also has taken over aircraft.

After the capital airport, UTair offers the most capacity out of Surgut and Tyumen in Western Siberia and Ufa, which is located west of the Urals. The airline also has a Ukrainian subsidiary that operates its flights between Ukrainian regional airports and Moscow Vnukovo.

An entire 90% of UTair’s seat capacity is allocated to domestic services; however, the airline is increasingly growing its international network. Belarus, Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are all new international country markets for the airline in the last year, with Belarus being the most recent (flights to Minsk launch today). The airline now serves 14 international country markets, notably including the capital cities of all three Baltic countries.

Source: OAG Schedules iNET for w/c 5 September 2011

Source: OAG Schedules iNET for w/c 5 September 2011

After the Ukraine, Central Asian countries are UTair’s largest markets. These markets are served with larger aircraft at lower frequencies, as shown in the discrepancy between their share of frequencies and seat capacity.

Below is a summary of UTair’s international routes so far launched this year, according to the anna.aero new route database.

Date Origin Destination airport Country WF A/c
27-Feb-11 Rostov-on-Don (ROV) Khudzhand (LBD) Tajikistan 1 B735
12-Apr-11 Rostov-on-Don (ROV) Yerevan (EVN) Armenia 4 B735
29-Apr-11 Nizhnyvartovsk (NJC) Donetsk (DOK) Ukraine 1 B735
01-May-11 Moscow Domodedovo (DME) Lenkaran (LLK) Azerbaijan 1 B735
01-May-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Hannover (HAJ) Germany 7 CRJ200
01-May-11 Surgut (SGC) Lenkaran (LLK) Azerbaijan 1 B735
05-May-11 Surgut (SGC) Yerevan (EVN) Armenia 0.25 B735
01-Jun-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Bratislava (BTS) Slovakia 4 CRJ200
02-Jun-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Brno (BRQ) Czech Rep. 3 CRJ200
01-Aug-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Tallinn (TLL) Estonia 7 ATR72
20-Aug-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Bukhara (BHK) Uzbekistan 1 B738
16-Aug-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Samarkand (SKD) Uzbekistan 3 B738
01-Sep-11 Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Minsk (MSQ) Belarus 7 ATR72

Fleet modernisation allows further growth

At Paris Air Show earlier this summer, UTair revealed the latest plan of its fleet renewal programme when Andrey Martirosov, UTair’s CEO, and Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s VP Sales Russia, announced the order for 33 737-800s and seven 737-900ERs.

At Paris Air Show earlier this summer, UTair revealed the latest plan of its fleet renewal programme when Andrey Martirosov, UTair’s CEO, and Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s VP Sales Russia, announced the order for 33 737-800s and seven 737-900ERs.

UTair is currently undergoing modernisation of its varied fleet, which also allows the airline to continue growing. The airline, which is the largest operator of the Tu-154 with 18 aircraft of the type, has orders for 24 also Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100s.

From Boeing, UTair currently operates 29 737 Classic aircraft and eight 737-800s as well as four 757s. The airline will take delivery of a further 40 737NG aircraft with the recently announced order of 33 737-800s and seven 737-900ERs. Unconfirmed rumours in the Russian press recently suggested that UTair also may be eyeing the 767.

UTair’s regional fleet consists of 15 CRJ200s, 14 ATR42s and 10 ATR72s. In ATRs order book are further 13 ATR72 aircraft intended for the airline.

Although UTair currently has no further new routes announced, its ambitious growth plans make it apparent that it is a Russian airline that much more will be heard from.


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