East Line and Uzbekistan Airways link at Domodedovo

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Russia’s East Line Group and the Uzbek national flag carrier have signed a partnership agreement which gives another boost to traffic volume at Moscow Domodedovo Airport.

Under the agreement, Uzbekistan Airways will shift the bulk of its Moscow services from Sheremetyevo to East Line-operated Domodedovo.

In March, its schedule provided for three weekly flights to Domodedovo but that will grow to 25 once the agreement is enacted.

In the summer season, only direct flights from Tashkent and Samarkand will terminate at Sheremetyevo with their number totalling thirteen a week.

General director of Uzbekistan Airways, Arslan Ruzmetov, says the move is motivated by the low tariffs for airport services at Domodedovo. "In many of Russia’s airports, charges are escalating," he says. "We have to opt for those that allow us to save costs."

Dismissing speculation about dumping practices, head of East Line, Dmitry Kamenschik, says the group manages to keep airport fees low in two ways. "Being structured as a holding company, we are providing a whole lot of ground handling services in their entirety and singlehandedly. In addition, we are cutting operating costs with the help of effective management system, he says.

Ruzmetov complains that Sheremetyevo airport authority cares more about foreign airlines than those from Russia and the CIS.

Kamenschik says he is in talks with some leading Western operators that are looking to use Domodedovo airport, and claims that the national carriers of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine are considering relocating their Moscow operations there.