Ural Airlines is looking to grow its passenger traffic by 15 % this year to hit the 9.2 million people mark. The carrier is counting on the domestic flights and expects they will provide the main surplus. The airline is also planning to strengthen its presence in Moscow airports of Zhukovsky and Sheremetyevo.
The carrier revealed to Russian Aviation Insider it was initially expecting its passenger traffic to reach 10 million, however, later on the figure was refined as the company moderated its fleet-growth ambitions. In 2018, the operator will accept delivery for four aircraft instead of seven according to the previous plan.
This year the company will base at least three aircraft in Zhukovsky which will be tasked with domestic operations (flights from Zhukovsky to Sochi are to start on May 28, 2018) and CIS flights. The airline foresees the passenger traffic from this gateway will almost triple in 2018 – from 120,000 to 350,000 people.
As for the Sherematyevo, the company’s relocation was conducted in March 2018, it now serves three destinations from this hub, namely, Sochi, Simferopol and Yekaterinburg. “Approximately in September we will consider our expansion plans for Sheremetyevo depending on the status of the new terminal and the new runway. When the construction is finalized, we will intensify our activity there”, says deputy business director on marketing Sergey Shkuro. However, for now he thinks it is too soon to call it a full-fledge relocation to the Russian biggest airport.
At the same time Ural Airlines will continue to develop its Domodedovo’s fleet by launching new destinations (for example, the company has introduced a new flight to Tyumen recently). The greater Moscow region accounts for approximately 40% of the carrier’s passenger traffic today.
The carrier is not currently considering another Moscow airport – Vnukovo as a potential base.
This year the company has already expanded its Airbus A320 fleet. In late April, the carrier is expecting to receive a more capacious A321 with two remaining A321s coming in a month or so. Ural Airlines’ fleet consists of European-made aircraft only. In 2017, and for the second time in a row, the operator became Russia’s A320 utilization leader.
The carrier is currently negotiating with the major lessors on the market. Particularly, getting А320neos, or A321neos, or Boeing 737 is under consideration.
By Tatyana Volodina
Russian Aviation Insider
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