Russia’s airlines see traffic growth slow down in January

Russia appears to be gradually recovering from the recent air travel trough The seat load factor climbed to 79.3% (Leonid Faerberg / Transport-photo.com)

According to an interim report released by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, the country’s airlines carried a combined total of 7.563 million passengers in January 2018, up 13.5% year-on-year. To compare, the January 2017 figure stood at 20.2%.

The seat load factor increased by 1.8 percentage points, reaching 79.3%.

Freight and mail grew 6.9% to 82.944 tons. The cargo traffic market is evidently slowing down, given that last year’s January growth registered at 26%.

Russian airlines served 105.052 million passengers in 2017, up 18.6% year-on-year. Traffic growth started to slow down by the end of the year.

Vladimir Tasun, president of Russia’s Association of Air Transport Operators (abbreviated to AEVT in Russian), told Russian Aviation Insider that the main factor behind the traffic growth is the airlines’ pricing policy, which is mostly aimed at keeping the fares level despite the rising airport handling and fuel fees.

The strengthening of the national currency and the resumption of services with Turkey last year also played a role. However, AEVT forecasts 2018 growth at not more than 10%. Experts point out that Russia’s air transport industry has practically exhausted its potential, which could stem further traffic growth.

AEVT believes that stimulating air travel within Russia could still contribute to traffic growth, but the process will definitely take time.

The Russian cargo transportation market grew extensively last year, at 15.7%.

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