The Russian air travel market experienced another market deviation in July, contrasting with the trends of the first half of 2018. Traffic between Russia and the CIS countries – which stagnated throughout the first six months of the year (a mere 0.7 per cent growth was registered in April) – unexpectedly climbed by eight per cent in July, compared to the same month last year.
At the same time, demand for air travel beyond the CIS slowed down to a year low 5.1 per cent (4.7 million passengers) from 12.8 per cent in June and 20.6 per cent in March. This resulted in both segments’ joint international traffic of 5.3 million passengers exceeding that of July 2017 by 5.5 per cent. The domestic sector growth slowed down too, to 7.8 per cent (7.5 million passengers), the lowest since the beginning of the year. Thus the popular 2018 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Russia in June and July, did not radically improve the operational results of Russian airlines, whose total collective traffic rose 6.8 per cent to 12.8 million passengers, the lowest in the year.
Data collected in the first half of the year shows a 0.3 per cent decline of passenger numbers on routes between Russia and the CIS countries (3.9 million passengers), whilst traffic to international destinations rose 13.2 per cent (22.2 million passengers), resulting in 26.1 million passengers on routes outside Russia, up 11 per cent year-on-year. The domestic segment for the same period increased by 9.9 per cent year-on-year to 38.2 million passengers. The total traffic carried by Russian airlines reached 64.3 million passengers, up 10.3 per cent.
Rossiya Airlines, which reported a 5.6 per cent traffic improvement in July, thereby claiming back its second-place status, nevertheless remains as overall third largest Russian carrier after seven months of business. From January to July it served 6.3 million passengers (up 1.6 per cent), a figure surpassed by S7 Airlines (Sibir), which carried 6.5 million passengers, achieving a much higher growth rate of 17.6 per cent. Ural Airlines enjoyed a similar expansion rate – up 15.9 per cent year-on-year to five million passengers. In the same period, market leader and national carrier Aeroflot served 19.8 million passengers, up seven per cent year-on-year. The last member of the top-five league, Utair Airlines, carried 4.3 million passengers, up 6.1 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2017.
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