Three Russian airlines boost operational performance well above pre-crisis levels

All three are economy-class only, with growth rates up to 90 per cent


Three Russian airlines have managed to significantly improve their eight-month operational performance compared to the same period of the pre-crisis 2019.

Aeroflot Group’s strategy to boost business development through stimulating low-cost segment has resulted in a sharp rise of its budget division Pobeda Airlines’ traffic. In January through August LCC Pobeda showed an increase of 42.2 per cent compared to the same months of 2019.

Azimuth Airlines took advantage of support measures offered on both regional and federal levels, as well as its geographical location in the south of Russia, to improve its operational results by 70.3 per cent above 2019 base, using its monotype fleet of 100-seat Superjet 100s.

Finally, Arkhangelsk-headquartered Smartavia, regional-turned-low-cost carrier, led the market in terms of traffic growth, posting incredible 89 per cent improvement on the results of the first eight months of 2019.

None of the three airlines offers business-class service, and all three concentrate mainly on providing direct domestic connections.

All Russian airlines served collectively 71.22 million passengers, their combined traffic reaching 82 per cent of the same period of 2019. The recovery rates are among the highest globally. The size of the country and its domestic market is certainly driving the traffic recovery – domestic air travel has grown 20 per cent to 59.2 million passengers, whilst international segment shrank 67.5 per cent, to 12.05 million passengers compared to pre-Covid times. RPKs remain depressed by 30 per cent below the norm at 151,43 million. However, freight volumes carried by Russian airlines increased by 20 per cent in the period.

In August domestic passenger traffic reached its year peak and exceeded August 2019 by 31 per cent. Freight volumes also continued to grow, and demonstrated a 25 per cent increase on August 2019.

In general, in August traffic came closest to the pre-COVID levels reaching 14 million passengers, which equates to 96 per cent of August 2019 traffic.

Russian airlines’ January to August 2021 passenger traffic (compared to January to August 2019)

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