Big gains for airlines in passenger numbers and RPKs

Russian air traffic has recorded strong growth in the first six months of the year. Although still a long way short of its heyday in the late 1980s, air travel appears to be recovering in Russia, with passenger numbers and revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) both showing double-digit gains.

Passenger numbers increased 15.2% on last year to 10.61 million, and RPKs were up by 13.8% to 22.5 billion. Aeroflot continues to be the main beneficiary, with 22% growth in passengers to 2.7 million, just over a quarter of the market.

Sibir continued its progress, increasing passenger numbers for the half-year by 74%. This was partially due to the gradual absorption of routes operated by Vnukovo following the two airlines' decision to merge. The deal was recently approved by shareholders, and a temporary block imposed by a Moscow arbitration court over debts owed by Vnukovo to an aviation services company has been lifted.

Other carriers had impressive gains, notably Tyumenaviatrans (passenger numbers up 57%) and Domodedovo Airlines (up 50%).

Cargo traffic grew by 10.4% to 3.43 billion tonne/kilometres. Aeroflot again dominated, taking about one-third of the market and achieving 8.4% growth in business. Eastline saw its business slump 57% because of its cargo operations being grounded twice for alleged customs violations, but its passenger traffic has doubled.

Source: Flight International