Tatarstan Transport Ministry: passenger traffic plunges by 40%, but air travel is hit harder

The Tatarstan transport complex is calculating losses: airlines have lost one in two passengers, urban and suburban buses have one in three

Transport collapse: coronavirus restrictions stopped 40% of traffic

A key meeting of the Ministry of Transport and Road of the Republic of Tatarstan, which, in fact, summed up the sector’s toughest coronavirus restrictions, took place online on 20 August. Head of the ministry Lenar Safin chaired the event.

From the very beginning, the minister began talking about negative consequences for the transport complex that had to suspend or minimise passenger transportation immediately after the non-working week regime was announced in the country in April. “This year our country has faced a new challenge — the new coronavirus pandemic. We have managed to avoid serious consequences thanks to the restrictive measures that were imposed. But these measures had a negative impact on economic development, first of all, the transport complex,” the minister noted in his welcome speech.

According to him, in the first half of the year, passenger traffic in all types of transport reduced by 40% on average. Passenger traffic in railway, river and car transport decreased by more than 30%. However, passenger traffic in urban transport fell by 85% in spring.

The sector hasn’t managed to recover from the shock yet. “The situation began to improve with the cancellation of the self-isolation regime, and now the decline in passenger traffic is about 40% compared to last year,” Lenar Safin said.

Dive in the air

However, air transport has been hit harder, the fall was lower, over 50%, Safin said. According to him, the main reason is that international flights have been prohibited since 27 March, the number of domestic flights has reduced since 1 April and restrictive measures in regions were imposed. In other words, the restrictive measures turned out to last longer than for other transport companies.

According to the republic’s ministry of transport, the amount of passengers serviced at the airports of Kazan and Begishevo has reduced by more than 53%. Bugulma airport has maintained last year’s amount flights thanks to subsidised flights. UVT Aero airline from Tatarstan has been affected as well: in the first half of the year, it transported a bit more than 104,000 passengers, which is by 9,000 less than during the same period last year. The fall is now so low because the airline operates within the federal programme with subsidised flights. “This has a positive impact on the financial state of the airline and airports, it also increases the availability of flights for passengers. This year the republic subsidises 27 destinations from Tatarstan airports," said Vice Transport Minister Andrey Yegorov.

The federal budget has compensated for Tatarstan airports’ losses during the pandemic — the sum is over 196 million rubles. So in April-June, Kazan International Airport received 160,799 million rubles, Begishevo International Airport did 35,556 million, Bugulma did 507,000 rubles, UVT Aero — 8,923 million rubles.

It should be reminded that Russian airlines have been allocated 23,4 billion rubles to compensate for the losses because of the spread of coronavirus. According to a decree adopted by the government, the subsidies will help airlines to survive the difficult period and save the staff.

By Luiza Ignatyeva

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