The Russian government is finally stepping in and creating a road map for budget airlines to enter the Russian market. Russia will get its first domestic low-budget airline carrier in 2013, with the next coming in 2014.
However, already this spring British budget airline EasyJet initiated flights from Moscow Domodedovo airport to London and Manchester. EasyJet expects to transport more than 300,000 passengers on its Russian routes during the first year.
In addition, Aeroflot has plans to launch a budget airline next spring and No. 3 airline UTair has a plan to create a low-cost hub at a military airfield in Kaluga, 100 kilometers from Moscow. European and Arab budget airlines fly to Russia, including AirBerlin, Germanwings, EasyJet, Vueling Airlines, Air One, Air Baltic, Norwegian, Niki, Pegasus Airlines, Air Arabia and Flydubai.
“A low-cost carrier in the Aeroflot group of companies could be created half a year after the necessary changes are made to the Air Code and aviation rules,” an Aeroflot spokesperson said in a statement last month. “Until then, it is premature to comment on the strategy of the future air carrier.” said Aeroflot chief Vitaly Savelyev. The issue with low-cost airlines in Russia has been government regulations and officials from the Transportation Ministry are working on new legislation that would omit some of these obligations and have promised to deliver the revised rules by the end of this year.
Hopefully this is the start of a budget airline boom in Russia that will lower the costs of flights both into Russia and domestically. Currently domestic flights in Russia are more expensive as compared to rates in the US and Europe.