S7 Airlines has temporarily emerged as Russia’s largest individual operator, the aviation regulator shows, as passenger numbers in the country halved to 27.8 million in the first six months of the year.

Federal air transport authority Rosaviatsia states that the number of air passengers travelling in Russia was nearly 52% lower for the January-June period.

Domestic flights accounted for over 19 million passengers, with international services carrying the other 8.7 million.

Fewer than 2.85 million passengers were carried in June, a decline of over 77%.

Rosaviatsia states that, of these, S7 Airlines transported the largest number. But its performance appears to have benefited from its merger with affiliate Globus, which is no longer separately listed in Rosaviatsia’s latest figures.

Low-cost carrier Pobeda fared relatively well over the first half, with its passenger numbers down by 35%.

Ural Airlines’ and Utair’s totals halved, while Aeroflot’s were down by over 55% – although the flag-carrier still managed to carry the most travellers, 7.8 million, in the period.

Russian cargo and mail transport remained largely intact over the first half of the year, with the tonnage figure slipping by less than 3% against 2019.