ROUTES CIS: Bucharest Airports Targets CIS for Growth

Bucharest Airports National Company has its sights on destinations to the east, with Kiev and St Petersburg high on the target list.  A senior executive at the group, which manages both Henri Coandă International Airport and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport says there is an opportunity to both increase frequencies on existing routes and introduce flights to new markets.

The growth strategy has been made possible following the opening of a new Departure Hall at Henri Coandă International last year.  “In November last year we opened a new terminal and doubled our capacity for passengers,” Ana-Marie State, the group’s head of strategy and brand identity told The HUB during this year’s Routes CIS forum in Donetsk, Ukraine.  “We’re interested in the CIS area because we don’t have many direct links.”

Bucharest is currently linked to the Russian capital, Moscow, three times weekly by Aeroflot Russian Airlines but State believes there is enough demand to sustain another service although it is the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, that is currently tops the wish list and is the number one priority.  “AeroSvit had flights to Kiev that stopped three months ago,” explained State.  “We want to re-create the route and we have the slots ready.  People are still used to flying the service.”

Elsewhere, in Europe, where 60 per cent of the gateway’s services fly, Bucharest Airports is especially keen on building its network to the north, according to State.  “At the moment, SAS provides our only connection in Scandinavia,” she explained.

Bucharest Airports also has ambitions further east and Gabriela Schlecht, economist operation contracts department, said the airports group would welcome additional connections into Asia.  “There are strong business connections between China and Romania,” she said.  “Our prime minister was in China a week ago to develop co-operation between the countries.”  According to the executives discussions with a carrier on the potential for a new service to China will take place during this year’s Routes CIS.