Russian carrier S7 Airlines is debuting the Embraer 170 in commercial passenger operation in Russia this quarter with plans to deploy the aircraft on more than 20 city pair markets by the end of June 2017. The regional jet aircraft will be mainly used on domestic routes and international flights within the Commonwealth of Independent States, with Berlin the only current international western market scheduled to receive the aircraft.
The oneworld alliance member has an agreement with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to lease 17 Embraer E170 pre-owned jets, a contract that has enabled the manufacturer to fast-track deliveries without impacting its order backlog. The first of these aircraft, former Republic Airways examples, are starting to appear from airport paintshops in the airline’s instantly recognisable green livery and all 17 units are due to arrive before the end of this year.
“Once again, GECAS joins Embraer to provide aircraft to the Russian market,” said Arjan Meijer, chief commercial officer, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “We welcome S7 Airlines to the growing E-Jets operators’ family. We are delighted to see the E170 in operation with one of the largest Russian airlines, supporting the airline as it spreads its wings around Russia.”
S7 Airlines is now the carrier with the largest network outside Moscow serving regional and intra-regional markets and the 78-seat E170s will enable it to gain momentum in the development of regional air transportation. “We see this segment as highly potential,” said Vladimir Obyedkov, chief executive officer, S7 Airlines. “Today, air transportation is concentrated in Moscow, and passengers from Ural cities often have to fly to the Far East through a connecting flight in Moscow.”
Alongside some flights out of the big cities of Moscow and St Petersburg many of the initial Embraers will be based at the Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo International Airport and will help the airline build a hub operation in the Siberian city to link other regions and nations across the CIS. “The new type of airliners will allow us to launch flights from small and hard to reach cities, where the use of medium-haul aircrafts is impossible,” added Obyedkov.
The announcement of S7 Airlines’ firm Embraer commitment followed just a couple of months after the Brazilian manufacturer confirmed the E170 and larger E175 jet had their type certificates validated by the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russian Federation, paving the way for Russian airlines to acquire these two aircraft types. The E190 and the E195 were already certified with Saratov Airlines flying the E195 in the country.
“This opens new opportunities for the two aircraft types, which have attained significant success in other regions of the world,” said John Slattery, president and chief executive officer, Embraer Commercial Aviation. The manufacturer sees demand in Russia more than 400 aircraft in the category from 30 to 130 seats with an average age exceeding 20 years, which are natural candidates for replacement in the coming years.
The E-Jets are already well established in several countries in Russia’s vicinity – Poland, Finland, Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova – and in CIS countries where Embraer has E-Jets customers in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine.
Latest summer flight schedules for S7 Airlines shows that aircraft will actually be based at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo International Airport and St Petersburg’s Pulkovo International Airport. Through the second quarter of 2017 the aircraft will be deployed on routes from Moscow to Astrakhan, Nizhniy Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, St Petersburg and Voronezh; from Novosibirsk to Almaty, Bishkek, Ekaterinburg, Gorno-Altaysk, Nizhnevartovsk, Nojabrsk, Novy Urengoy, Osh, Shymkent, Surgut, Tyumen and Ust-Kamenogorsk; from St Petersburg – Berlin Tegel, Bryansk and Kaliningrad; and between Tyumen and Salekhard.
This summer S7 Airlines will operate flights to 172 destinations in 28 countries around the world. Alongside introducing the Embraer 170, the carrier will also take delivery of its first Airbus A320neo this summer, becoming the first operator of this type of aircraft in Russia.