Russia’s top six airports – Moscow’s three main airports (at Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo) plus those serving St Petersburg, Eketarinburg and Novosibirsk – collectively account for around 65% of all passenger traffic at Russian airports. In 2011 these six airports between them handled just under 72 million passengers, representing growth of some 12% over 2010. So far in the first five months of 2012, demand has continued to rise impressively quickly, by an estimated 16% across these leading airports.
Among Russia’s leading airlines, Aeroflot has reported passenger growth of at least 20% in each of the first six months of this year, while Transaero had to deal with an increase of over 40% in passenger numbers in February and March, and an increase of over 30% in March.
easyJet and Virgin Atlantic keen to enter London – Moscow market
Although Russian carriers (including S7 and UTair) appear to be the primary driving force in the growth in air travel services, foreign carriers have also launched a number of significant routes since the beginning of the year.
|Launch date||Airline||From||To||WF (aircraft)|
|14 March||Turkish Airlines||Istanbul Atatürk||Novosibirsk||3 (B738)|
|25 March||Anadolujet||Ankara||Moscow Vnukovo||7 (eqv)|
|25 March||Lufthansa||Frankfurt||Moscow Vnukovo||14 (A320)|
|25 March||Lufthansa||Hamburg||St. Petersburg||2 (B733)|
|25 March||SAS||Copenhagen||Kaliningrad||3 (CRJ900)|
|28 March||Czech Airlines||Prague||Ufa||2 (A319)|
|22 April||Aegean Airlines||Rhodes||Moscow Domodedovo||2 (A320)|
|22 April||Czech Airlines||Prague||Nizhniy Novgorod||1 (A319)|
|26 April||Aegean Airlines||Heraklion||Moscow Domodedovo||2 (A320)|
|4 May||Air One||Venice||St. Petersburg||2 (A320)|
|19 May||Aerosvit||Kiev Borispol||Rostov||5 (ERJ145)|
|20 May||Aerosvit||Kiev Borispol||Tyumen||3 (B737)|
|25 May||Aerosvit||Kiev Borispol||Murmansk||2 (B737)|
|1 June||blu-express||Palermo||Moscow Sheremetyevo||2 (B738)|
|1 June||Kam Air||Kabul||Moscow Domodedovo||2 (A320)|
|3 June||Belavia||Minsk||Novosibirsk||2 (B735)|
|5 June||airberlin||Berlin Tegel||Kaliningrad||3 (Q400)|
|21 June||Pegasus||Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen||Omsk||3 (B738)|
|22 June||Vueling||Palma de Mallorca||Moscow Domodedovo||3 (A320)|
|26 June||Vueling||Ibiza||Moscow Domodedovo||1 (A320)|
|16 July||Air Astana||Astana||Omsk||2 (F50)|
|27 July||Aigle Azur||Paris Orly||Moscow Vnukovo||4 (A319)|
|Source: anna.aero new route database|
As part of the process for the EU approving IAG’s acquisition of bmi British Midland from Lufthansa earlier this year, British Airways has been forced to give up slots at Heathrow to another carrier to provide additional competition on the Moscow route. Virgin Atlantic has declared that it is keen to step in between London Heathrow and Moscow Domodedovo, and the airline has already introduced a codeshare partnership with Russia’s Transaero. Meanwhile, easyJet has indicated that it is interested in operating twice-daily flights from its base at London Gatwick.