Russian operator Transaero Airlines is to boost the frequency of its flights between Moscow and the Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk, the administrative centre of Amur Oblast, after national carrier Aeroflot Russian Airlines announced the suspension of its own flights on the route from the end of this week.
The Independently-owned full-service carrier currently operates five flights per week to Blagoveshchensk but from Moscow Domodedovo, but from May 26, 2015 it will increase to a daily schedule. It will further boost capacity between the Russian capital and the destination from June 22, 2015 with the launch of a new twice weekly offering from Moscow Vnukovo.
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Transaero currently serves the market alongside Aeroflot Russian Airlines, but its rival wills suspend its own operations from May 15, 2015. Aeroflot had launched its daily offering on the Blagoveshchensk – Moscow Sheremetyevo route in August 2014 after having operated a twice weekly link during the winter 2013/2014 schedule.
Although Transaero and Aeroflot currently compete for traffic, an agreement between the two airlines provides joint support for passengers serving the route, and Transaero has revealed it will honour this partnership to provide transport for those Aeroflot customers that have already booked flights with the carrier. According to company representatives, more than 10,500 advance tickets have been purchased on the cancelled Aeroflot flights through to October 26, 2015.
“With a view of the best interests of residents of Russia’s Amur region, Transaero Airlines has agreed to fulfil the request and carry all passengers wishing to take advantage of this agreement. Passengers will not have to pay any fees. The airlines will settle all payments between themselves,” said Transaero in a statement.
Alongside the frequency growth, Transaero will also introduce larger aircraft between Moscow and Blagoveshchensk to support demand, boosting capacity by around 20 per cent. This will see the increased usage of Boeing 767-300ER equipment on the route rather than the mix of 767-200ER and 767-300ERs currently scheduled to serve this market.
Over recent years Blagoveshchensk has developed into a holiday location for Chinese tourists from just across the Amur River. The city is just a five-minute bus ride across the frozen Amur or on the hydrofoil that runs during the very short summer to the Chinese city of Hehei. The short distance between the two cities mean they are prime locations for trading between China and Russia.
The city of Blagoveshchensk is served by Ignatyevo Airport, approximately 20km north of the centre and alongside the important Moscow service is also linked to Chita, Ekaterinburg, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Ulan-Ude, Vladivostok and Yakutsk.