Russian airline traffic down 15% in December; new state-run airline Rosavia yet to launch

Image: Terminal Concept
€300m: The cost of Aeroflot’s new ‘Sheremetyevo 3′. The opening at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport has been rescheduled for later this year. When finished it will allow Aeroflot to serve an additional 12 million annual passengers.

Russia’s rapidly developing air transport industry grew by around 20% in 2007 and in the first five months of 2008 Russian airlines continued to report growth at that level. However since then growth has slowed rapidly falling to under 1% in October. In November passenger numbers on Russian airlines fell by 6.5% and in December by 14.5%

Chart: 2008 vs 20077
Source: TCH

Demand suffered as a result of the collapse of several medium-sized airlines including KrasAir (with a fleet of over 30 aircraft) which ceased flying at the end of October. Domodedovo Airlines which operated a fleet of 13 Russian-built aircraft ceased operating at the end of September. These failures were triggered by the unprecedented price of fuel. Domestic traffic has suffered most while international traffic (at least until November) was still showing signs of growth.

Image: Pulkovo
East Line Group’s ambitious expansion plans for Domodedovo up to 2020 include a new terminal – Domodedovo-2 – which is scheduled to open this year.

The Russian state revealed plans in November to create a new state airline to be called Rosavia which would incorporate fleet and staff from Atlant-Soyuz Airlines, Domodedovo Airlines, KrasAir and Samara Airlines. Other state-controlled airlines may be folded into the new airline in due course.

Chart: Leading Russian Airport
Source: TCH

Moscow’s three airports and St Petersburg Pulkovo are by far the busiest Russian airports. All airports in Russia suffer from major seasonality issues with demand in the summer months almost twice as high as during the, often very harsh, winter season.

Chart: Leading Domestic AIrports
Source: TCH

S7 (Siberian Airways) lost its lead in the domestic market in November to Aeroflot. During the peak summer months Kras Air ranked as the fifth busiest domestic airline. On international routes Aeroflot remains the leading Russian airline ahead of Transaero, Rossiya, S7 and VIM.

Image: Domodedovo
Construction of the new €340 million terminal at Pulkovo begins this year. With a capacity of 22 million passengers per year, it will be complete in 2012.

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