Moscow airport hopping mad: Lufthansa says “Niet” to Sheremeteyevo

domodedevo.JPGThe transfer of Lufthansa German Airlines from Moscow’s down-at-heel Sheremetyevo Airport to the sparkling new Domodedovo Airport could spell the beginning of the end for the international traffic ambitions of the Russian capital’s traditional gateway.Lufthansa’s eventual move, after years of contemplation, takes a huge chunk of international service away from Sheremetyevo. It says it is planning to shift its passenger and cargo operations in Moscow from Sheremetyevo to Domodedovo at the start of the summer timetable.

Following this, the Star Alliance member airlines currently represented in Moscow – Swiss, Austrian Airlines, bmi, Singapore Airlines, Spanair and Thai Airways – will all be located at the same airport.

Lufthansa is a big player in the CIS with 200 direct flights a week from 18 cities. Domodedevo is the country’s fastest growing and largest gateway. It handled 15.4 million passengers in 2006.

Sheremetyevo and Lufthansa have a long history that at one time in the 1990s even had the carrier prepared to help the airport develop its outdated infrastructure.

That was a plan doomed to failure, and now Sheremetyevo has lost a once loyal ally.

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