Russia's Nordwind to expand into scheduled services

Moscow
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Russian charter specialist Nordwind Airlines is poised for a major foray into the scheduled market.

The carrier's owner Pegas Touristik, a top-tier travel agency in Russia, has unveiled a plan to open up to 30 cross-border routes from the nation's provinces.

“It will be a crucial step forward in our development,” says general manager Anna Podgornaya. “We've prepared for this during several years and carefully selected each of the city pairs to ensure success.”

Federal aviation authority Rosaviatsia says Nordwind has applied for new licenses to operate mainly on international routes with no regular flights performed by designated domestic carriers.

These include destinations in Cyprus, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Mexico and China, which it wants to serve from six provincial centres, and with several routes from Moscow.

Nordwind will only compete with Aeroflot and Orenair on a few routes and with Transaero on the St Petersburg-Cancun route, says the regulator.

The carrier has 10 leased Boeing 767-300s and two 777-200s for long-range services as well as four 757-200s, two 737-800s and eight Airbus A320/321s for shorter flights.

Market analysts in Moscow believe Nordwind wants to enter the scheduled market due to mounting competitive pressures in the charter segment, where several major players have modernised their fleets and increased capacity.