Russian authorities insist air transport crisis is over

In January 2017, Russian airlines increased passenger traffic by 23.6% compared to the same period of the last year. In January 2017 Vnukovo’s passenger traffic beat last year’s January by almost 50% (Photo by Leonid Faerberg /

Russian air transport has overcome the crisis, head of Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Alexander Neradko said at NAIS&CA 2017 infrastructure show held in Moscow this week. According to FATA, in January 2017, the total traffic of Russian airlines grew by 23.6% year-on-year and stood at 6.822 million passengers. However, industry experts warn that the fast recovery may prompt excessive capacities, which may result in another downturn should carriers give in to euphoria.

The head of FATA emphasized, that the January growth is not a result of a low benchmark effect, although January 2016 month demonstrated a 6.1% downturn compared to the same month of 2015. Compared to January 2015, this year was up 16%, and 13% above January 2014 level, Neradko said.

He also added that passenger traffic of Russia’s top 20 carriers increased by 31% in January YoY.

Chairman of Vnukovo Airport’s board, Vitaliy Vantsev and general director of Airports of Regions holding Yevgeniy Chudnovsky, both supported Neradko in his thesis that the Russian airline industry has managed to climb out of the crisis.

In January 2017, Vnukovo’ passenger traffic showed a 49.5% year-on-year growth. Yekaterinburg’s Koltsovo, managed by Airports of Regions, reported 23% growth. Other Russian airports also showed double-digit growth rates, among them – Novosibirsk Tolmachevo (+30%), Nizhnekamsk Begishevo (+67%) and Irkutsk (+17%).

Industry experts believe that the chances are high that the industry may post positive financial results for 2016, for the first time since 2010. The main factor was radical reduction of capacities. However, they warn, fast recovery may spur the uncontrolled growth of capacities once again, which may eventually throw the industry back into crisis.

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