Russian passenger slump reflects tough market

Russian passenger slump reflects tough market In August Russian domestic market found itself almost at the point of zero growth for the second time in 2016 (Fyodor Borisov /

Russia’s air transport business continues to stagnate, with international passenger numbers in freefall in 2016, latest monthly figures reveal.

International traffic suffered a decline of 25.6 per cent in August, whilst the Russian domestic market found itself almost at the point of zero growth for the second time in 2016, growing by just 1.5 per cent to 6,592 million passengers, below May’s 1.6 per cent improvement.

Data from the Federal Air Transport Agency paints a difficult market picture.

Russian carriers saw overall business decline by 10.2 per cent year-on-year in August. The rate of decrease marginally slowed from July’s 10.3 per cent.

In the first eight months of 2016, the number of passengers flown by Russian carriers decreased by 8.7 per cent year-on-year, compared to 8.2 per cent in the first seven months.

Domestic flights achieved some growth in the period, up 5.7 per cent, to 37.727 million passengers. The fall in traffic on international services in the first eight months reached 26.5 per cent, at 20.745 million.

Airfreight also suffered in August. Shipments carried by Russian airlines dropped by 9.3 per cent year-on-year, to 82.3 thousand tonnes, an improvement on July’s 14.9 per cent decrease.

Despite the challenging domestic and global market conditions, Russia’s biggest players continued to develop and grow in the first eight months of this year.

Flag carrier Aeroflot grew 10.2 per cent, while Sibir (a part of S7 Group) and Rossiya (a sister company of Aeroflot) grew by 19.2 and 50.2 per cent respectively. Notably, Rossiya’s decision to introduce wide-bodied aircraft formerly owned by the defunct Transaero has contributed to its progress.

UTair and Ural Airlines recorded an upturn: 13.7 and 16.5 per cent, respectively.

Overall, the share of the five largest carriers of the Russian market in total was at 67.1 per cent, a slight decrease from July’s 67.8 per cent, but an increase of 14.6 percentage points over last year’s figure.

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