The newly opened Zhukovsky Airport (ZIA) started handling passenger flights on September 12. Belarusian national carrier Belavia became the first airline to start operation to this airport, located near Moscow.
Originally the flight was to be carried out on an Embraer E175 regional jet, but eventually the airline decided to use a bigger Boeing 737. Notably, the first flight to Zhukovsky was performed by an aircraft with an special livery dedicated to World of Tanks computer game. According to Igor Cherginets, Belavia’s deputy general director for marketing, 133 passengers flew to Zhukovsky and 87 passengers flew back to Minsk on what will be a daily flight from now on.
By launching the flights to Russian capital’s secondary airport, Belavia increases number of flights serving Moscow — it retains its current flights to Domodedovo (this is made possible due to the fact that the new airport was not formally included in the Moscow aviation hub). The Belarusian carrier flies Boeing 737 and E195 to DME. Now Belavia negotiates the possibility to increase the number of flights to Zhukovsky, as the operator sees the demand for such flights.
In total, 23 destinations from Zhukovsky have been approved of today, including Europe (e.g. Germany), Israel and Turkey. In the first place these destinations will be served by UTair, Yamal, Ural Airlines and NordWind. “We are talking about October, today the so-called “R-forms” are being formalized, which is a necessary condition for launching these services. Th work will be complete for the winter schedule” – said Dmitry Shugaev, Board of Directors Deputy Chairman for Ramport Aero, the airport’s operator.
It is expected that airlines from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will start flights to the new airport before the end of the year. In Kyrgyzstan it was Air Manas that won the corresponding contest, although it had previously been reported that Air Kyrgyzstan should fly to Zhukovsky. Earlier the Kazakh airline SCAT had also expressed the desire to cooperate with the new airport. “The main task for us now are international flights”, – stressed Thomas Vayshvila, Ramport Aero head.
The airport base carrier has not been determined yet. “Maybe Ural Airlines, maybe Yamal. There is no decision yet, but our airport is ready to work with any airline. We do not have any restrictions for this, negotiations are underway”, – stressed Shugaev.
Zhukovsky airport officially opened on May 30. It was expected that the airport will serve its first passengers in June, but then the date was postponed several times. Later it became known that the first flight to Zhukovsky would be performed by Belavia and Yamal would start the flights in October. It was also reported that the Federal Air Transport Agency had granted the applications of other Russian operators to carry out regular flights to the airport near Moscow.
Initial forecasts suggest that Zhukovsky airport should serve 2-3 million passengers during the first year of operation. By 2020, it was planned to more than triple the passenger flow. The adjusted plan presented on September 12 states the airport can serve 350-400 thousand passengers before the year end and about 2 million passengers in 2017.
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