S7 Airlines (Sibir), Russia’s second largest carrier, has taken delivery of its 17th and the final pre-used Embraer E170 jet, thereby satisfying current stage of its strategic regional fleet expansion programme.
The fleet is currently split between the carrier’s two hubs, with nine stationed at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport and the remaining eight at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport. Several of the Moscow-based aircraft operate out of St Petersburg (Pulkovo) and then return to base at Domodedovo.
The Russian airline has also acquired an emergency procedures simulator and is soon expecting delivery of a full-flight simulator for the Embraer E170.
Adding the 78-seat E-jets supports S7 Airlines’ regional route network expansion effort, as the carrier focuses on its desire to cover currently underserved Russian towns. As an example, Embraers will fly on routes between Novosibirsk and cities within a 2,500-km range, such as Kazan, Samara, Krasnoyarsk and Tomsk. Starting from June the airline is launching flights from St Petersburg to Murmansk and Saransk. There are also two routes to neighbouring Belarus (Moscow – Gomel), a route not served by any other airline, and to Kazakhstan (Novosibirsk – Pavlodar).
Despite these developments, S7’s further regional network development plans are hindered by insufficient capacity. After Embraer’s decision to discontinue production of the E170 model, S7 Airlines has instead expressed interest in the would-be shortened, 75-seat version of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100, the SSJ 75, and has signed a letter of intent for a potential substantial order for the modified version, which may enter service in 2022.
As a potential launch customer, the airline’s experts have joined the aircraft Supervisory Board and are to advise the manufacturer, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC), on its configuration possibilities.
Further afield, in the first quarter of this year, S7 Group, which includes subsidiary Globus Airlines, launched a string of international routes from Moscow to Rome, Pisa and Catania, and from St Petersburg to Berlin, Verona, Turin, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Lyon.
Its Q1 operational results show a 16.8 per cent year-on-year improvement, reaching 2.299 million passengers. At the beginning of the year S7 Airlines outperformed its rival Rossiya Airlines (which slowed down 6.7 per cent year-on-year to 1.863 million passengers) and regained its status as Russia’s second largest airline behind flag carrier Aeroflot.
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