Paul Duffy/SHANNON

THE AEROFLOT Russian International Airlines (ARIA) hub, set up at Shannon in the west of Ireland in 1995 to transfer Russian and CIS airline passengers to transatlantic services to the USA, is to be expanded to take in more airlines and routes.

Set up last May, the hub had brought 20,000 passengers through Shannon from St.Petersburg, Minerane Vody and Minsk in the CIS and Bratislava in Slovakia to transfer to ARIA transatlantic services by the end of 1995.

The hub has enabled airlines such as Pulkovo Airlines of St.Petersburg to report that it had stemmed the flow of transatlantic passengers travelling via Helsinki. Belavia, Kavkazsktse Mineralnye Vody and Aeroflot also serve Shannon from the east.

With all routes (except Mineralnye Vody's service) "profitable", other former Aeroflot carriers are planning to join the hub by the start of the 1996 summer season. These include Kaliningrad, Sibir (of Novosibirsk), Air Moldova and some airlines serving Ukrainian cities. ARIA's westward flights tied into the hub will include services to Havana from summer 1996. It also expects to begin a Shannon-Antalya (Turkey)-Moscow service shortly. Nikolai Lebedev, ARIA'S deputy commercial director, says that the success of the operation has led the airline to look at other hub prospects outside Russia.

Source: Flight International