Russian carrier S7 Airlines has announced it will introduce a new regular link between Moscow and Salekhard, the administrative centre of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia and the largest town located closest to the Polar Circle. The link to the destination, a former place of exile during the Tsarist and Soviet periods, adds to its existing flights to Novy Urengoy and Nadym in the district.
The oneworld alliance member will introduce a twice weekly service between Domodedovo Airport in the Russian capital and Salekhard from June 3, 2015, with a third weekly rotation being added from June 22, 2015. All three flights will be operated by Airbus A320 equipment with Business Class and Economy cabins. The Moscow Domodedovo - Salekhard route is already served by Yamal Airlines.
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S7 Airlines already operates flights to the cities of Novy Urengoy and Nadym in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. Novy Urengoy is the district’s second largest city and was established in the mid 1970s after the discovery of sizeable gas resources in the area. Likewise, Nadym is home to sizeable energy industry interests.
The exploitation of the Arctic for oil and gas and the energy wealth in Yamal, mean Salekhard has meant a renaissance of one of Siberia's first outposts. The town was founded in 1595 by Russian Cossacks and initially known as Obdorsk and has played a crucial supporting role in developing the Russian Arctic, northern Urals and Western Siberia.
Over the last decade, the town has undergone a total transformation “If you came here ten years ago and then saw it now, you wouldn't recognise it and would think these were two completely different places,” the Russian president Valdimir Putin is quoted as saying a couple of years ago. “Salekhard continues to play a big part in modern Russia's life today,” he added at the Arctic Forum.
Ten years of rapid development has recently given Salekhard a 35 per cent increase in population and there has even been talk of developing a large polar resort to bring additional leisure demand into the town alongside the strong energy business demand. “In the future we plan to develop our route network in this region,” said Igor Veretennikov, strategy director, S7 Airlines.