Russian authorities intend to allow foreign airlines access to select domestic routes during the World Cup soccer tournament this summer.
Under the law, non-domiciled carriers are only allowed to conduct charter flights between Russian cities if they deploy aircraft with fewer than 19 seats.
But the transport ministry has proposed waiving this restriction and granting foreign airlines cabotage rights to transport passengers within the country on a temporary basis.
It forecasts that between three and five million foreign visitors will attend World Cup matches. The tournament is to run from 14 June until 15 July and be hosted by 11 cities in the European part of Russia.
Alongside Moscow and St Petersburg, these cities include Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk, Samara, Sochi and Volgograd.
"Foreign applicants will gain an unprecedented access to our skies," says transport minister Maksim Sokolov. "We hope this should help alleviate probable travel constraints on routes to hosting cities."
RosBusinessConsulting estimates that demand has more than doubled on some routes for the World Cup season. Sokolov expects Aeroflot to transport up to two million domestic passengers and corner 40% of that market through price promotions.
Similarly, Russian Railways has allocated capacity to carry around 500,000 people at reduced fares on designated services.
Source: Cirium Dashboard