St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport to open six new destinations this winter season

Pulkovo Airport Wizz Air’s service to London was launched on the 2nd of October (NCG)

St Petersburg’s Pulkovo (LED) airport’s 2019/2020 winter schedule will see six new routes, a statement from the airport reveals. Four of the six new destinations were already launched earlier this year and will continue into the winter season.

Pobeda Airlines, Russia’s only low-cost carrier (LCC) and a member of Aeroflot Group, is to launch flights to Astrakhan; and Alrosa Airlines, which is owned by the Russian diamond mining company Alrosa, plans to inaugurate flights to Novokuznetsk – routes which are completely new for Pulkovo airport.

The winter schedule will also include four routes opened during this past summer season. They are Wizz Air’s service to London Luton, launched just a few days ago on the 2nd of October; S7 Airlines flights to Irkutsk; Chinese Lucky Air services to Kunming (China); and Azimuth Airlines’ flights to Elista.

The new services will help Pulkovo airport’s plans to handle just under 20 million passengers this year, an improvement of some nine per cent on 2018.

According to airport operator North Capital Gateway’s (NCG) forecast, passenger traffic in 2020 will grow by about seven per cent, a moderate estimate which probably doesn’t take into account the benefits of new electronic visa processing and a partial open-skies regime over Pulkovo airport. From the 1st of October, citizens of 53 countries including, among others, a list of European countries and China, can travel to St Petersburg using the electronic visa. The simplified process of obtaining this type of visa is quick and free of charge. Applications can be accepted just four days before arrival. NCG believes that the introduction of the electronic visa system will influence the passenger traffic numbers only in the second half of next year.

Earlier this autumn, following the agreement of the Russian government to introduce a partial open-skies regime over Pulkovo airport, three major European LCCs expressed their interest in opening flights to Russia’s fourth busiest airport using the region’s newfound seventh-freedom traffic rights. Ryanair, Europe’s largest LCC, as well as rivals EasyJet and Wizz Air, all presented their wish lists to NCG in August.

Earlier this year, Russia’s transport ministry pre-approved about a dozen of 33 routes proposed by NCG for seventh-freedom traffic rights which allow airlines to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries without any continuing service to/from the carrier’s own base country.

by Ivan Volodin

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