St Petersburg now offers 7th freedoms to 30 countries

St Petersburg now offers 7th freedoms to 30 countries

London Luton – St Petersburg was added by Wizz Air in October 2019. It complements its existing Budapest – St Petersburg.  On the 17th January 2020, the carrier announced four new routes as a result of the new seventh freedoms: service from Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia, and Vilnius.

Moscow’s airports added 28 million seats in the past five years. Now St Petersburg – Russia’s second-largest city and the country’s fourth-busiest airport – is keen to really stimulate tourism and benefit from the resulting economic development. To this end, the city – rather than Russia as a whole – has taken two very bold steps.

Free visas and seventh freedom rights

St Petersburg has introduced e-visas free-of-charge for citizens of 53 countries, including all of the EU (except the UK), doing away with the need for Russia’s longwinded and expensive ‘normal’ visas.  And most eye-openingly, it has, from the 1st January, introduced seventh freedom traffic rights that will likely appeal most to foreign LCCs.

Seventh freedoms now available

Seven freedoms are routes that don’t touch an airline’s home country, such as LOT beginning Warsaw – St Petersburg, then operating St Petersburg – Venice – St Petersburg as separate services, before returning to Warsaw. 

The opened access is now available from St Petersburg to 30 countries.  There are no restrictions – airports able to be served, frequency, capacity, aircraft, number of airlines – to 21 of these, including Belgium, Malta, and Switzerland. 

Countries with no restrictions
Belgium Malta
Denmark Netherlands
Estonia Norway
Finland Poland
Iceland Portugal
Ireland Romania
Latvia Serbia
Lithuania Slovakia
Luxembourg Slovenia
Macedonia Sweden
Norway Switzerland

But there are restrictions to nine, which includes Germany – a crucial market from Russia – and Cyprus.  In reality, they’re available to 29 rather than 30 countries, because the rules state that for Cyprus “all cities except Larnaca and Paphos” are available.

Country Restrictions
Austria All cities except Vienna
Bulgaria Only flights allowed to Sofia
Cyprus All cities except Larnaca and Paphos
Czech Republic All cities except Prague
France All cities except Paris and Nice
Germany All cities except Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Munich
Great Britain All cities except London
Italy All cities except Rome and Milan
Spain All cities except Barcelona and Malaga

Top unserved and underserved routes from Europe to St Petersburg

All of which leads onto St Petersburg’s key unserved and underserved routes in 2019, with traffic both ways combined. Number-one unserved is, of course, Kiev, but with the current Russia – Ukraine relationship, there’s no point including this. On the 17th January, Wizz Air announced St Petersburg to Bratislava (also serving nearby Vienna), Bucharest, Sofia, and Vilnius. Two of these four feature in the “top” list. With 10,700 passengers, unserved Bucharest was not far off inclusion.

City Two-way traffic Comments
Copenhagen 33,800 98% indirect; seasonal by SAS
Geneva 31,800 84% indirect; weekly seasonal services by both Rossiya and Swiss
Oslo 27,300 Unserved in 2019, but served every year since 2010, including by Norwegian until 2015 and then Rusline
Madrid 27,800 89% indirect; summer-seasonal Iberia
Brussels 23,000 53% indirect
Lisbon 19,800 Unserved. Last served by TAP in 2015
Venice 18,100 Unserved. Served by Air One and Alitalia over the years, last in 2018
Stuttgart 17,800 Unserved. Last served by airberlin in 2011.
Vilnius 16,000 Unserved. Last served by Rusline in 2017. Wizz Air will now operate the route
Lyon 15,800 Unserved. Last served by S7 in 2017
Sofia 15,700 Unserved. Served by Bulgaria Air and Russiya in various years since 2010. Wizz Air will now operate the route
Cologne 15,100 68% indirect. Served by Pobeda
Source: OAG Traffic Analyser

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  1. Gus.Dennis says:

    Great news.Can’t wait to return to magnificent St.Petersburg.

  2. David says:

    What about Greece?

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