VIDEO: Belavia Set to Open New Links to Belgium and Switzerland

Belarusian national carrier Belavia is planning to expand its network across Europe and is confident that the meetings it had scheduled at Routes Europe in Budapest, Hungary earlier this month will play an important role in it meeting its growth ambitions.  The state-owned entity, which was formally established in March 1996 after the Belarusian government restructured the local industry and the local Aeroflot division was nationalised and renamed, hopes new air services could commence as earlier as winter 2013/2014 following discussions at the event.

“There is a great interest to start operations from Belarus,” Igor Tcherginets, Deputy Director General Marketing & International, Belavia told The HUB during an exclusive video interview at Routes Europe. “We had some meetings with Russian and Ukrainian airports that were also very interesting, while there is great interest from their side and from our side to start operations on the route Minsk – Tallinn.”

The carrier currently operates a network which encompasses destinations across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe and into the Middle East.  Many of these services meet historical trade links from its former Soviet days but Belavia is also looking to expand into a number of new markets to meeting an increasing demand for business and leisure travel between the capital of Belarus, Minsk and destinations across Central and Western Europe.

According to Tcherginets, positive discussions took place with delegates that could lead to two new European markets being added to the Belavia network.  “I hope if everything is ok with agreements, talks and negotiations, this year we will start operations to one of the Switzerland airports – Zurich or Geneva.  I hope we will start operations to Brussels Airport and we expand our network to Russia,” he added.

There are currently no scheduled air links between Belarus and Belgium or Switzerland.  In 2012, an estimated 9,000 O&D passengers flew between Belarus and Switzerland, the majority beginning or ending their journeys in Zurich, while around 5,000 O&D passengers flew between Belarus and Belgium, almost all flying to or from Brussels, the largest share with LOT Polish Airlines via Warsaw.

Belavia’s main hub is at Minsk National Airport but it also offers flights from Gomel and Grodno with a network that covers 39 destinations from the capital as well as links to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad from the regional cities.  It currently operates a mixed fleet of aircraft including six Boeing 737-500s, five 737-300s, five CRJ-100/200 jets and two Embraer 175s.

You can see the full interview with Igor Tcherginets, Deputy Director General Marketing & International, Belavia, below.

Igor Tcherginets, Deputy Director General Marketing & International, Belavia at Routes Europe 2013 in Budapest.