Russia’s air passenger traffic grew 10 per cent in 2023

Further growth will depend on capacity increase in the environment of sanctions

Russian airlines carried 105 million passengers in 2023, representing a 10 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Transport. Of this number, 82.7 million people were carried domestically, with 22.3 million transported on international routes.

The number of air passengers in Russia grew steadily until 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed international air travel, with passenger traffic collapsed to 69.2 million in the country. In 2021, thanks to the gradual opening of international destinations and an availability of state’s stimulus program, traffic began to recover and reached 111 million for the year.

After the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine conflict and the imposition of international sanctions against Russia in 2022, the passenger numbers fell again, to 95.2 million.

The 2023 results still lag behind the pre-pandemic results – in 2019 Russian airlines carried a record 128.1 million passengers. So far, the industry has not managed to achieve the 2021 results either.

Down to airlines, in 2023, Aeroflot, the country’s flag carrier, managed to increase traffic by 22.8% to 25.2 million passengers. It served domestically 18.1 million passengers (+8.4%) with international traffic jumped by 85.2% to 7.1 million.

S7 Airlines, country’s largest private carrier, transported 15.9 million passengers, which is comparable to 2022 numbers (16 million). The airline carried 14.5 million passengers on domestic routes and 1.5 million on international ones (1.5x increase).

LCC Pobeda served 13 million passengers, up 11.5% year-on-year. The budget carrier, which is part of Aeroflot Group, increased international transportation 4.4 times, to 1.4 million passengers. 11.7 million passengers were carried (+2.6%) within Russia.

Ural Airlines, another key private airline, carried 9.4 million passengers in 2023, 11% year-on-year. 6.77 million passengers were served on domestic routes and 2.6 million internationally.

Rossiya airlines (part of the Aeroflot group as well) transported 9.1 million passengers (+7.3%), with domestic traffic reaching 7.97 million (+9.6%) while international decreasing by 6.7% to 1.1 million.

Passenger traffic of private UTair grew by 9.3% to 6.69 million passengers. Traffic growth on domestic routes amounted to 4.9%. The number of passengers on international flights increased by 27.7%.

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