Russian carrier Transaero Airlines has confirmed it will inaugurate its first scheduled flights between Moscow and Prague, in the Czech Republic, from summer 2015 after gaining traffic rights from Russian authorities to serve this international market.
Transaero will offer a daily flight to the Czech capital as part of its growing Moscow Vnukovo international network from March 29, 2015 using a Next-Generation Boeing 737. The route will complement the airline’s flights from both Moscow and St Petersburg to Pardubice which have been in operation since 1996 and which witnessed a nine per cent year-on-year rise in passenger demand in 2014.
News of Transaero’s plans to serve Prague was first revealed at last year’s World Routes forum in Chicago, USA where the carrier’s deputy head of external relations, Alexander Delezha, explained the airline had been in negotiations with the Czech Republic over the route for the last three years, and hoped to finalise an agreement in the final quarter of 2014.
“We have to go to the ministry in the Czech Republic next month [October 2014], and once everything is finalised we hope to launch in the summer of 2015. There is also an agreement that the capacity on the aircraft used will not be more than 200 seats, so we will likely use a Boeing 737-800. Russians enjoy visiting Prague so we expect it to prove popular if it gets the go ahead,” he told Routesonline at the time.
The launch of the new flight to Prague is an important step forward in developing air services between the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic. In the last 12 months (December 2013 – November 2014) an estimated 990,000 passengers flew between the two countries with around 465,000 flying between the two capital cities.
The Moscow – Prague market is currently served by Aeroflot Russian Airlines and Czech Airlines which both offer up to four flights per day serving Sheremetyevo International Airport in the Russian capital. Alongside the introduction of Transaero’s daily flights to Vnukovo International Airport from the end of March 2015, Czech carrier SmartWings will also launch a daily flight linking Prague with Sheremetyevo International Airport.
In our analysis, below, we look at passenger demand between Prague and Moscow between 2004 and 2013. During this period passenger traffic has more than trebled from just over 150,000 passengers in 2004 to almost 500,000 in 2013, an average annual growth rate of 23.1 per cent during the period.
In 2013, data shows that Aeroflot Russian Airlines generated an estimated average load factor of 70.62% on the Moscow - Prague leg and 67.81 per cent on Prague - Moscow return service. This compares fovourably with Czech Airlines with estimated average loads of 43.23 per cent on the Prague - Moscow route and 46.8 per cent on the return sector.