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Russia DESTINATIONS


state subsidies to low-cost carriers such as Aeroflot’s new offshoot Pobeda Airlines, which has been able to offer intra-Russian fares from as low as 999 rubles ($16.50). Meanwhile, international carriers have scaled back operations to the country, especially to cities other than Moscow. Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Air France, airberlin and Emirates are among the numerous airlines to have reduced capacity either by cutting schedules or using smaller aircraft. OAG senior analyst John Grant says


the results are indicative of a sector in the doldrums, although one now facing a massive injection of funds. “The general picture of the market in Russia is pretty flat and uninspiring. Nothing very exciting is happening in terms of routes,” he says. “Sanctions have had an effect


internationally, but internally we’ve just seen a bit of consolidation as the numerous domestic carriers merge or disappear, which will help those around now become more sustainable in the longer term. “Ironically, the uncertain situation


in Ukraine has actually resulted in an increase of Russian flights into the region recently. Russia wants to show how it is looking after Crimea, so access there has improved.”


On the flip side, the winning World Cup bid has proved the catalyst for a huge state-backed infrastructure programme.


More than $10 billion has been Jon Grant


allocated to tournament-related building projects – a figure that football’s governing body Fifa says is the biggest ever. Stadia improvements aside, the bulk of the money is going on airports and transport projects. In Moscow, the main hub Sheremetyevo


Airport has been transformed with the rebuilding of Terminal B, plus a new third runway, taxiways, control tower and service buildings. Improvements to cargo facilities will eventually boost freight capacity to one million tonnes annually. Across the city, Domodedovo Airport is getting a second runway, while the former Zhukovsky military airport has been granted a licence to receive international flights from the US, China, Turkey and six European countries. Other host cities are also in on the act. Building work has now finished on the new international terminal at Strigino International Airport in Nizhny Novorod, with a high-speed rail connection to the capital set to be ready by the summer. Meanwhile, new terminals have been built, or are on the way, at Saransk International, Volograd International, Kazan International and Samara’s Kurumoch International Airport. The reconstruction of Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg has been finished, although a planned tramlink to the city centre has been shelved. Rostov-on-Don, meanwhile, is getting


World Cup stadia


Saint Petersburg Stadium


Estonia


Kaliningrad Stadium


Latvia Lithuania Belarus Poland Ukraine


Volgograd Stadium


Rostov Arena


Nizhny Novgorod Stadium


Luzhniki Stadium, Spartak Stadium


Mordovia Arena


Samara Arena


Kazan Arena


Ekaterinburg Arena


2018 Fifa


a completely new airport. Testing at the new Platov International Airport begins in October in preparation for its scheduled December opening. The facility boasts a 50,600 m sq passenger terminal and 3,600m runway, with capacity for up to eight million passengers per year. Regional carrier Azimuth Airlines will be based at the new airport. All of this is part of Russia’s aviation


strategy that consists of the building or reconstruction of 500 airports by 2030. “The developments will be very


welcome longer term and will play a major part in improving domestic connectivity,” adds OAG’s Grant. “During the World Cup, it is impossible to know how the main airports will cope because we don’t know where the pinch points will be, since we won’t know where teams will be based until the draw is made in December. That means we can’t predict where and how supporters will be travelling. “The vast majority of football traffic will


come in via official tour operators, and they will all have optioned flights and be waiting to hit ‘go’. Access in, especially via Moscow and St Petersburg, is pretty good w


Stadium Fisht routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2017 ISSUE 5 67


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