In an unprecedented move, Russia’s Nordwind Airlines, which is part of the Turkish-backed Pegas Touristik group, has announced plans to electrify the coming IATA winter season with a radical expansion of its route network.
The carrier, which has recently been grabbing the attention of the market with its aggressive fleet expansion plans and its ambitions to change its status from that of leisure charter carrier for a legacy airline, has now unveiled its winter schedule, which includes more than 74 destinations, of which 40 are new.
Following its recent inaugural scheduled flight to the European Union, the airline is adding destinations to the Middle East (Aqaba and Amman in Jordan, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia), China (Guangzhou and Haikou), Mexico (Cancun) and Jamaica. Within the CIS regions, the airline has confirmed its intentions to launch six new routes between Russia and Uzbekistan (Moscow to Karshi, Samarkand, Urgench, Fergana, and Kazan to Tashkent).
In the domestic segment, most of the newly-launched flights from Moscow will be to large cities in Siberia, to Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo, Omsk, Nizhnevartovsk, Yakutsk, Tyumen, Barnaul and Bratsk. The domestic route network will also include the new destinations of Voronezh, Saratov, Nizhny Novgorod, Orsk, Yaroslavl, Kirov and Anapa.
But these developments are not only just about Moscow, St Petersburg will also inherit an array of new routes, to Belgorod, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Magnitogorsk, Mineralnye Vody, Nalchik, Nizhnevartovsk, Orenburg, Samara and Ufa.
The airline’s geographical expansion is supported by its rapid capacity growth, having recently added a 27th aircraft to own fleet, which is supplemented by the 16-strong fleet of its sister airline Pegas Fly (Ikar). The joint fleet availability of both carriers is now expected to reach 50 aircraft before the end of this year.
According to Nordwind, it leads the Russian air travel market in terms of passenger traffic growth in the first half of this year, registering a 196 per cent year-on-year traffic surge, including 219 per cent growth on its scheduled flights.
The airline, which is currently the seventh largest in Russia, and is ambitious to enter the country’s top-five carriers list, carried 3.5 million passengers last year and has already reached that number in just eight months of this year.
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