Air Moldova Success for London Stansted

Just a month after taking over the ownership of Stansted Airport from BAA, new owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) have attracted its first new airline with the announcement that national carrier Air Moldova will move its UK flight operations from Gatwick to Stansted at the end of April.  This marks the return of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) operator to the Essex airport following a four-year hiatus.

With effect from April 29, 2013, Air Moldova will operate a twice weekly service from London Stansted to the Moldovan capital Chisinau using an Embraer 190, taking advantage of the better availability of slots to retime the flight approximately three hours to better meets its operational and market needs.  The flights will operate every Monday and Friday to appeal to both business and leisure passengers.

“When MAG took ownership of Stansted Airport at the end of February we set out ambitious plans to attract new airlines and grow the range of destinations; so I’m delighted that Air Moldova is the first new airline to move their services to Stansted.  This is a very welcome and early stage in our long-term objectives to grow Stansted.”

Andrew Harrison
Managing Director, Stansted Airport

“When MAG took ownership of Stansted Airport at the end of February we set out ambitious plans to attract new airlines and grow the range of destinations; so I’m delighted that Air Moldova is the first new airline to move their services to Stansted.  This is a very welcome and early stage in our long-term objectives to grow Stansted,” said Andrew Harrison, Managing Director, Stansted Airport. 

“Stansted has fantastic facilities and great on time performance.  To build on this record, we have significant investment plans - including £40million to upgrade the terminal and security areas - to transform the experience for our passengers and make the airport more attractive to airlines looking to move into or expand in London,” he added.

Air Moldova previously utilised Stansted as its London flight terminus between March 2007 and April 2009 when its flights between Chisinau and London were operated via Paris Charles De Gaulle.  In May 2009 the schedule was switched to London Gatwick and between April 2012 and October 2012 the routing was moved to via Frankfurt, but from the end of October 2012 the flights have been operated directly after a smaller Embraer 190 replaced an Airbus A320 on the route.

Air Moldova currently operates direct flights to 20 cities across Europe.  In the table below we highlight the largest international O&D markets from the Republic of Moldova, a landlocked nation in Eastern Europe sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine.  Moldova continues to aspire to join the European Union and is among half a dozen countries seeking to enter the grouping by the end of this decade.

Interestingly, London Gatwick was only the 31st largest O&D market from Moldova in 2012, accounting for a smaller level of traffic than London Heathrow (ranked 23rd) despite no direct links to the hub airport from Moldova.  The main passenger flows from Moldova are to Moscow Domodedovo, a route served by Air Moldova and S7 Airlines; to Verona, a market dominated by Meridianafly and to Istanbul Ataturk, providing a connection to Turkish Airlines’ fast expanding hub network.

ESTIMATED INTERNATIONAL DEMAND FROM MOLDOVA (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Total Demand

1

Moscow Domodedovo (DME)

213,155

19.7 %

2

Verona Valerio Catullo (VRN)

94,254

8.7 %

3

Istanbul Ataturk (IST)

90,066

8.3 %

4

Rome Leonardo Da Vinci International (FCO)

54,657

5.0 %

5

Frankfurt Am Main International (FRA)

44,914

4.1 %

6

Bucharest Henri Coanda (OTP)

43,853

4.0 %

7

Milan Malpensa (MXP)

43,607

4.0 %

8

Venice Marco Polo (VCE)

38,840

3.6 %

9

Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (BLQ)

32,177

3.0 %

10

Antalya (AYT)

26,505

2.4 %

OVERALL TOTAL

535,956

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