Russian carriers are asked to consider more flights to Kaliningrad

Russian airlines carried the total of 170,000 passengers between Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg this summer Russian airlines carried the total of 170,000 passengers between Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg this summer (Photo by Fyodor Borisov/Transport-Photo.com)

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency and the administration of Kaliningrad are joining forces to expand the route network from the exclave city on the coast of the Baltic Sea connecting it with a wider list of destinations in the European part of Russia, Kommersant reports. FATA has asked Russian airlines to come up with a list of cities, where the demand is potentially high enough to justify direct connections. The regulator believes such flights should be eligible for state subsidies. Presently the subsidy program includes only two destinations from Kaliningrad – to the country’s largest cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, and it is only active in the summer season, from mid-May to mid-October.

FATA asked Russian carriers to submit the list of potential destinations before the end of the year. Having analyzed the operational results of the past summer season, the regulator found out that six airlines that participated in the subsidy program (Aeroflot, S7, Red Wings, UTair, Ural Airlines and Nordavia) had carried a total of 170,000 passengers between Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg. Fewer passengers benefited from subsidized tickets to Kaliningrad this year than in the previous year (up to 205,000 passengers), and the carriers did not completely use all of the allocated funds. Nearly 50 million rubles (about $715 thousand) remained unclaimed. The Kaliningrad administration claims that the carriers did not sell the cheaper tickets until the end of the season. However spokesmen for S7 Airlines and other carriers objected that the demand was quite high and the load factor on flights to Kaliningrad neared 100%.

Industry experts suggested that subsidizing tickets during the high season did not make much sense. They believe that offering social discounts on tickets during the winter time would be more reasonable and would allow the carriers to manage their capacities more efficiently.

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