Russian airlines’ August traffic almost back to pre-pandemic levels

While operational results are on a steady recovery track, financial indicators are a growing concern

Russian airlines passenger traffic August (Simferopol airport)

According to the preliminary data by Russia’s aviation authority Rosaviatsiya, in August the country’s airlines carried collectively 13.9 million passengers. The figure is just 3.67 per cent short of the pre-pandemic 2019 and almost 1.5 times above August 2020, when the market was heavily constrained by COVID-19 restrictions. RPKs were 30.6 billion, 13.9 per cent below the norm, still being affected by absence of full-scale international connections.

Steady recovery of passenger numbers is not offsetting the airlines’ financial concerns over decreasing unit revenues, caused by a significant reduction of average fares due to excessive capacities on the domestic market.

Russia’s five largest airlines, which make up the elite rank and are accountable for roughly 65 per cent of the entire market, have maintained traffic growth, with two of them have managed to outperform their pre-crisis levels. Flag carrier Aeroflot served 2.7 million passengers, its privately-owned rival S7 Airlines carried 1.89 million passengers. LCC Pobeda Airlines and Rossiya Airlines, both part of Aeroflot Group, handled 1.5 million and 1.3 million passengers, respectively. Finally, Yekaterinburg-based private carrier Ural Airlines served 1.2 million passengers.

(compared to August 2019)

1. (1) Aeroflot                     2.7 mln    –27.0%
2. (2) S7 Airlines               1.89 mln   –3.4%
3. (5) Pobeda                     1.5 mln    +50.0%
4. (3) Rossiya                     1.3 mln    –13.3%
5. (4) Ural Airlines            1.2 mln    +10.0%

Since the beginning of the year through August 2021 Russian airlines carried 71.1 million passengers, which although a 62 per cent increase year-on-year, is still 17.6 per cent short on the pre-pandemic levels. RPKs were at 150.7 billion, up 47 per cent on the same period of 2020 and down 30.3 per cent on 2019.

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