Russia’s second biggest international airline, Transaero, grows by 50% in 2008

Image: Route Launch
Transaero’s network is biased in favour of international services. In 2008 it launched eight new routes including this service from Pulkovo (St Petersburg) to Tokyo marked by a special ceremony at Narita.

According to Russian government statistics Transaero is Russia’s third largest airline in terms of passenger numbers having carried some 4.85 million in 2008, an increase of 50% on the previous year. Aeroflot with 9.3 million and S7 (Siberian Airlines) with 5.9 million are the only bigger airlines at present. Transaero’s network is biased in favour of international routes where it carried 4.23 million passengers ranking it second behind Aeroflot. Its relatively modest domestic network transported just 626,000 passengers last year ranking it 10th among Russian airlines.

Chart: Transaero traffic
Source: Transaero

In the last five years the airline has seen passenger numbers increase more than fivefold as the fleet has grown to over 40 aircraft, mostly Boeings. In 2008 alone 12 additional aircraft joined the fleet. With 12 747s Transaero claims to be the only airline operating the type anywhere in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe and is also the only operator of 777s in Russia. The backbone of its fleet however consists of 15 737s (three different variants) and 11 767s.

Ranked second at Moscow Domodedovo base

Transaero’s main base of operations is at Moscow Domodedovo airport from where it operates 40 routes this winter. Domodedovo is Moscow’s busiest airport handling 20.44 million passengers in 2008. Transaero is the second biggest carrier at the airport after S7 and well ahead of Lufthansa.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes
S7 26.3% 25.8% 44
Transaero 14.9% 16.6% 40
Lufthansa 5.4% 5.1% 5
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 2 February 2009

Transaero currently operates about 190 weekly departures from the airport to 12 domestic destinations and seven in Kazakhstan. According to OAG data its four busiest routes this month (in terms of weekly seat capacity) are to London Heathrow (served double-daily), St Petersburg, Bangkok and Tel Aviv.

Significant seasonality on international routes

Transaero’s international traffic is highly seasonal with passenger numbers between June and September more than twice as high as during the off-peak winter months.

Chart: Seasonality
Source: Transport Clearing House

During 2008 Transaero added eight new routes, five from Moscow and three from St Petersburg. New scheduled destinations from Moscow included Anapa, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Vladivostok in Russia and Tivat in Montenegro. From St Petersburg there were new services to Barcelona, Punta Cana and Tokyo.

According to the airline in 2009 it will be focussing on developing its domestic network by increasing flight frequencies and launching new routes.

Image: Transaero attendant
Bourgeois is back: Last year Transaero introduced its exclusive Imperial Class based on the “best traditions in Russian Imperial hospitality” (combined with lots of technology). The new class is available on Transaero’s long haul 777s and 747-400s.

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