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CAPA Leading Edge is the Centre for Aviation's general blog featuring airline strategy developments, market comparisons, executive interviews and airframer updates.

Leading Edge

Russian market remains strong as Aeroflot to start Moscow-Miami service

Posted on 20th April, 2012 3:52 PM

While western Europe remains in the doldrums, signs are more positive in the east and especially in Russia, where state-owned Aeroflot and competitor Transaero have in the past two years recorded growth rates in excess of 25%. The trend is continuing, and Aeroflot's latest long-haul destination – Miami – will see thrice-weekly A330-200 service commence 30-Oct-2012. Aeroflot competitor Transaero, which has a stronger leisure focus, already serves Miami, albeit with a twice weekly Boeing 777-200 service.

Aeroflot initial Miami schedule: 30-Oct-2012

Route Flight Number Departure Arrival Frequency Commences
Moscow-Miami 110 09:00 13:00 Tues, Thurs, Sat 30-Oct-2012
Miami-Moscow 111 15:00 11:10+1 Tues, Thus, Sat 30-Oct-2012

Transaero's 777-200s seat 306 while Aeroflot's A330-200s seat 241, giving Aeroflot a weekly capacity of 723 one-way seats to Transaero's 612.

The greater south Florida area is not only a tourist area but also has a sizeable Russian population, giving the route a strong leisure market. The increasing wealth of Russians has translated to premium demand, and Transaero's 777-200s are in a four-class configuration while Aeroflot's A330-200s are in a two-class (business and economy) configuration.

Aeroflot previously served Miami but suspended the route prior to 2000. Also in the Americas, Aeroflot serves Cancun, Havana, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Washington Dulles. Transaero serves Cancun, New York, Punta Cana and Toronto and will shortly resume Los Angeles service, reflecting its leisure focus while catching up on more corporate routes, such as Los Angeles.

In the eastern parts of Asia, Aeroflot serves Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International, Beijing Capital International AirportGuangzhou Baiyun Airport, Hanoi Noibai Airport, Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport, Hong Kong International AirportSeoul Incheon International Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport and Tokyo Narita Airport, according to Innovata data.

Transaero also serves Bangkok, Beijing and Ho Chi Minh, but has unique destinations compared to Aeroflot in Denpasar Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket, again reflecting the carrier's more leisure focus.

In Africa Aeroflot has a more limited network, serving Cairo, Hurghada, and Luanda while Transaero serves Hurghada but also Enfidha, Mahe, Mauritius and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Aeroflot and Transaero year-on-year growth: 2010 and 2011

  2010 2011
Aeroflot 28.4% 25.7%
Transaero 32.3% 27.2%

Aeroflot's and Transaero's high growth has not been without a return. Aeroflot's 2011 net profit was up 1% to RUB10,400 million (EUR255.0 million) while Transaero's 2011 net profit increased 215% to RUB2820 million (EUR69.1 million). Transaero has a number of widebody aircraft on order, including A380, 747-8 and 787s, but is also exploring leasing additional used 777s. Local reports indicate Aeroflot also plans to increase its fleet, but primarily with narrowbody aircraft. 

In short-haul markets, recent bilateral agreement revisions with European countries paved the way for Transaero to have a larger presence, although the Russian Government has flagged its intention to establish a commission to award international air rights in an effort to break up the effective duopoly between Aeroflot and Transaero.

See related article: Transaero seeks services to France and Italy following expanded bilateral agreements

Yet with few other contenders – S7 has been concentrating on its domestic and CIS network – Aeroflot and Transaero's growth should continue relatively unabated.

Background Information

Aeroflot international capacity seats by region: 16-Apr-2012 to 22-Apr-2012

Transaero international capacity seats by region: 16-Apr-2012 to 22-Apr-2012