Russia, Germany expand bilateral air services agreement
The aviation authorities of Russia and Germany have agreed on expanding air services between the two countries. According to the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA), two new destinations have been opened for scheduled flights, one by each party. Kaluga, located 160 km to the southwest of Moscow, has been used by German operators for charter flights since reopened after renovation several months ago. This destination replaces Perm, which is currently not used by any German carriers. In Germany, the additional airport is Memmingen, 110 km to the west of Munich.
The agreement also calls for granting both countries’ operators more frequencies in the 2016 summer schedule: a 0,5 weekly frequency will be added to the current number.
This particular measure will have unclear benefits for the German carriers, seeing as Lufthansa has reduced its services to Russia and Air Berlin has ceased flights to the country altogether and announced leaving the Russian market.
The most tangible results of the bilateral consultations will perhaps come in the form of changes to the current regulations governing cargo carriers. From now on, Russian freigt operators with scheduled flights out of Frankfurt-am-Main, Leipzig, and Munich to US destinations will enjoy two weekly frequencies, provided that their flights originate and end at the same German airport.
Freight carriers operating charter flights on the aforementioned routes will be given one weelky frequency each, on condition that they operate under the fifth freedom (which implies that the airline has the right to transport cargo from one foreign country to another while en route to its country of origin. To receive the appropriate permission, Russian carriers will have to apply with the German authorities.
The Russian delegation also requested that German colleagues consider a possibility of Ilyushin Il-76 and Antonov An-124 aircraft being based at Leipzig airport. Russian cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr, which operates both of these aircraft types, opened its own maintenance facility in Leipzig in 2013. Representatives of the airline, and of its subsidiary AirBridgeCargo, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, an Domodedovo Airport, were observed present at the negotiations.
The next bilateral meeting is scheduled for June 2016.
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