The Russian and German aviation authorities have successfully negotiated amendments to Joint Statement dated July 14, 1993, which regulate the bilateral relations in commercial aviation.
According to the new rules, Russia can designate up to four air carriers to operate flights to Germany. Previously, Russia and Germany were able to designate no more than three air carriers per line.
The new agreement covers certain pairs of cities in Russia and Germany. The changes to existing rules are explained to be motivated, in particular, by the current air transportation needs of the two countries.
The liberalization process has also impacted cargo airlines. In particular, the parties agreed that one Russian designated cargo carrier will be granted five weekly frequencies for Moscow – Munich – Liege (Belgium) service along with commercial rights of the fifth freedom of the air within the Munich-Liege segment (with the provision that the flight starts and ends in the same German city)
Industry experts believe the Russian-German air transport agreement was liberal enough even before the new rules got adopted. The increased number of designated air carriers is expected to enhance competition among airlines which in its turn will facilitate international operations – a segment where Russia is currently experiencing a clear-cut decline.
Remarkably, the increase in the number of designated air carriers coincided with a decrease in passenger numbers on international flights on Russian airlines. It also occurred despite several German airlines having dropped several Russian destinations. Particularly, German Lufthansa made a decision to suspend flights to Nizhny Novgorod and Samara for now. Besides, Lufthansa’s subsidiary Eurowings ceased flying to Russia altogether, “due to economic reasons”, as the demand failed to meet the carrier’s expectations, Kommersant daily reports. Germanwings, another member of the Lufthansa Group, has reduces frequencies to Russia and stopped serving Saint-Petersburg from Dusseldorf and Moscow from Dussledorf and Cologne.
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