Moscow traffic growth reaches record levels

Image: Domodedovo
Modern Domodedovo has no need for computer generated images of how it could look. It has also overtaken Sheremetyevo as Moscow’s busiest airport and will handle 18.7 million passengers this year. A new terminal – ‘Domodedovo-2′ – is scheduled to open in 2009.

Russia’s capital city has an estimated population of just over 10 million people, but its three major airports at Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO) and Vnukovo (VKO) handled a modest 33 million passengers in 2006. However, despite now being regarded as one of the world’s most expensive cities, growth across the three airports is averaging close to 20% in 2007 indicating that the Moscow airport system will handle close to 40 million passengers this year, almost double the figure of just five years ago.

Map: Moscow

Chart: Moscow airports traffic 2002-2007
Source: Airport websites, ACI

During that period, privately-owned Domodedovo airport has overtaken Sheremetyevo airport as the busiest in the Moscow region. Based on scheduled airline data for this winter, Moscow’s three airports have a 43% market share of all flights at Russian airports and a 47% share of total capacity.

Airport FrequencyShare CapacityShare
Moscow (DME) 17.7% 20.8%
Moscow (SVO) 16.5% 18.9%
Moscow (VKO) 8.3% 7.5%
St Petersburg (LED) 7.6% 7.5%
Ekaterinburg (SVX) 3.2% 3.3%
Kaliningrad (KGD) 3.0% 3.2%
Moscow Total 42.5% 47.3%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 December 2007

Traffic peaks in August

An examination of each airport’s monthly traffic in 2007 shows a very similar demand profile with traffic peaking in August and being at its lowest in February. The peak to off-peak ratio for the three airports combined is around 2.2.

Chart: Moscow airports seasonality 2007
Source: Airport websites

So far in 2007, Vnukovo has achieved the highest growth rate of almost 29% followed by Domodedovo (22%) and Sheremetyevo (10%).

Image: Vnukovo’s $300 million terminal
Vnukovo’s new $300 million terminal will be delivered in two phases, the first of which will be completed in December 2008 and provide a 70,000sqm facility. Phase two will be complete in December 2009 and result in a 200,000sqm terminal capable of handling 20 million passengers per year.

Aeroflot still #1 in Moscow

Logo: AeroflotAnalysis of scheduled capacity this winter at each of the three airports shows that Aeroflot is still the dominant airline with around one quarter of all flights and capacity. In capacity terms it is followed by Siberia Airlines (10.8%), Transaero (6.4%), Utair (6.3%) and low-cost newcomer SkyExpress (3.5%).

However, the market shares at the individual airports differ quite significantly as shown in the following table.

Airline Moscow DME Moscow SVO Moscow VKO
#1 Siberia AL 24.5% Aeroflot 61.3% Utair Aviation 35.3%
#2 Transaero 14.5% Lufthansa 4.9% SkyExpress 21.8%
#3 Krasnoyarsk AL 5.1% Aeroflot – Nord 4.7% Kavminvodyavia 6.9%
#4 Domodedovo AL 5.1% Rossiya Russian AL 3.9% Airlines of Kuban 5.3%
#5 Tatarstan 3.6% Aeroflot – Don 2.4% Vladivostok Air 5.0%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 December 2007
Image: aeroflot new terminal
Aeroflot is investing in its own terminal at Sheremetyevo. The $450 million facility – Sheremetyevo 3 – will open in 2008. All Aeroflot services and those of its partners in the SkyTeam alliance will be transferred to the new terminal.

Over half the traffic is domestic

Around 60% of flights at Moscow’s airports are domestic services. The most popular route is to St Petersburg with 247 weekly flights across all three airports, operated by a total of eight different airlines. The next busiest route is to Ekaterinburg with just over 100 weekly flights operated by five different airlines.

Aeroflot dominates international market

On international flights, Aeroflot is the dominant airline with around one third of all flights and seats, well ahead of Transaero, which has 10% of international capacity. The leading non-Russian airlines are Lufthansa (4.3%), Air France (1.9%) and British Airways (1.7%).

Low cost airlines have so far made little impression in this highly regulated market with Air Berlin having the highest market of 1.3% thanks to its services from Domodedovo to Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf, Hannover and Munich. Germanwings has a further one percent and serves Vnukovo from Berlin SXF, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Sheremetyevo currently has the most international capacity with around 57% followed by Domodedovo with 40% and Vnukovo with just 3%.

Germany most popular country

A total of 65 countries are connected by direct services to Moscow. The country with by far the most connections is Germany, which accounts for nearly 15% of international flights.

Airline Frequency Share Country Share
Germany 14.7% 13.3%
Ukraine 9.7% 6.5%
Uzbekistan 3.8% 4.3%
France 4.3% 4.2%
United Kingdom 3.4% 4.1%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 December 2007

Several low-cost carriers such as SkyEurope and Wizz Air are hoping to gain a foothold in the potentially vast Russian market, but are being held back by the existing regulatory restrictions. If (or when) Russia becomes truly ‘open-skies’, expect Moscow’s airports to be at the forefront of a major traffic boom.


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