The low-cost carrier has announced its plans to cut its London Gatwick - Moscow route from 13 weekly to once daily.
Services between London and Moscow will be reduced from 13 to 11 weekly from February 1, 2015, eventually decreasing to once daily on March 29, 2015.
According to airlineroute.net, the afternoon departures from Gatwick and the evening departures from Domodedovo are being cancelled.
In summer 2015, services between the two cities will be operated by Aeroflot from Moscow Sheremetyevo – London Heathrow thrice daily, British Airways from Moscow Domodedovo – London Heathrow three-times daily, and Transaero Airlines from Moscow Vnukovo – London Heathrow daily, down from twice daily compared to winter 2014/15.
The reduction in service from the British airline comes after a battle for the slots took place in 2012 between easyJet and Virgin Atlantic. The low-cost carrier initially launched the route on March 18, 2013, operating a daily service, which was increased to two daily flights on April 15, 2013.
easyJet received a certificate from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority with permissions to operate flights to Russia. The airline competed directly with Virgin Atlantic for access, in the wake of the closure of BMI – which along with British Airways had been one of only two carriers permitted to operate services to Moscow from the UK.
The UK CAA justified its decision to award the flying rights to easyJet after it decided that the airline would deliver the greatest benefit to its customers. The airline was given the right to operate 14 weekly flights from London Gatwick Airport to Moscow Domededovo, although Virgin’s application proposed operating the routes from London Heathrow.
British Airways’ existing 21 weekly flights from Heathrow to Domodedovo were unaffected by the decision, although its application to launch 14 new services from Gatwick to Sheremetyevo was rejected alongside Virgin’s bid.
easyJet has not made any comment on the flight reduction to Moscow, a route it also serves from Manchester, but the decision to cut the frequency is likely to have been driven by the deepened economic sanctions that have been placed on Russia since last year due to the conflict in Ukraine.
In our analysis, below, we look at estimated average monthly loads on the London - Moscow sector over the past 12 months (December 2013 - November 2014). This data shows that easyJet has been consistently recording average loads of over 70+ per cent each month and even recorded loads of more than 97 per cent in September 2014, a month all carriers on the route saw a significant increase in loads.