Russia’s Red Wings to add Crimean link

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Red Wings is to start a service between Moscow Domodedovo and Simferopol, capital of the Crimea region disputed between Ukraine and Russia.

From 5 April, the Tupolev Tu-204 operator will fly daily on the route.

The Russian carrier’s commercial director Yevgeny Klyucharev expects cabin loads to average between 70% and 80% at the peak of the upcoming tourist season.

“We’ve specially moved the launch date one month forward, taking account of an increase in demand for travel to and from Crimea,” he says.

“To enhance capacity and add frequencies, we'll consider leasing Tu-214s that were formerly operated by Vladivostok Avia.”

As Red Wings has only domestic aircraft, Klyucharev believes it will be immune to “probable Western economic sanctions, which could have implications for Russian operators using foreign types to serve Crimea”.

He also argues for speeding up the construction of Tu-204SM twinjets. Red Wings ordered 10 last year.