Russian air carriers show double-digit growth in 2019

The Russian passenger air transport market saw a 10% increase in the number of passengers last year. While Aeroflot remains the leading national airline, its subsidiary Pobeda showed an impressive growth of 43%. New foreign players are also entering the market: Hungarian Wizz Air launched flights to Moscow, St Petersburg and Kazan last autumn.

Aviation in Russia has reasons to celebrate the year just gone, says Simple Flying. According to Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport Rosaviatsiya, the country’s airlines collectively served by 10,2% more passengers in 2019 than in 2018. Russia’s five biggest airlines by passenger numbers are Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Rossiya Airlines, Ural Airlines and Pobeda, all showing impressive growth in 2019. Overall, Russian air carriers served almost 130 million passengers last year.

The leading Russian airline, Aeroflot, carried 37,2 million passengers in 2019, which was by 4,1% more than in 2018. Besides, the carrier has recently topped the list of airlines ranked on on-time performance becoming the most punctual airline of 2019. The second biggest carrier in the country, privately-owned S7, carried 14 million passengers last year showing a 21% growth compared to 2018. The third biggest airline was Aeroflot subsidiary Rossiya Airlines, which recorded growth of 4% and served 11,6 million passengers, followed by Ural Airlines with traffic growth of 7% to 9,6 million passengers and another Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda. The latter served almost the same number of passengers as Ural Airlines but showed the most impressive growth of the year of 43%. Pobeda is considered to be one of the fastest-growing airlines in Russia and Europe. Since the carrier started operations in late 2014, it has been rapidly expanding by launching new routes.

Azimuth Airlines became another Russian airline that achieved a significant result in 2019. A regional airline with bases in Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don reached a profit for the first time last year. This is particularly significant news for Russian aviation, as Azimuth has a fleet comprised only of Sukhoi Superjet 100. According to Simple Flying, it may serve as an indicator that the aircraft is finally achieving an adequate reliability performance. Sukhoi is currently in talks with European airline Air Serbia about placing an order for its aircraft.

Meanwhile, competition in the Russian passenger air transport market is growing. In October 2019, Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air launched flights to Russia. Besides daily flights from London and Budapest to St Petersburg and Moscow, the carrier has two flights a week between Budapest and Kazan.

By Anna Litvina