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The passenger air transportation sector in Russia can be characterised by significant competition. Aeroflot is majority owned by the Russian Government and is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Russian Federation. The three major airports serving Moscow are Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Domodedovo International Airport (DME) and Vnukovo International Airport (VKO). Aeroflot dominates the domestic passenger market in Russia, however other airlines also provide frequent national and international services and they include S7 Airlines, UTair Aviation as well as VIM Airlines and Nordavia. The Federal Agency for Air Transport of Russia is the government agency that is responsible for rendering governmental services and managing governmental property in the sphere of air transport (civil aviation) and the usage of air space over the Russian Federation.
Airports in Russian Federation
68 total articles
Part 1 of CAPA's analysis of the S7 Airlines Group examined its network and competitive positioning, particularly with respect to the Russian market leader Aeroflot Group. Away from its Moscow Domodedovo hub, S7 has pockets of strength serving cities in Asia from regional Russian airports.
This second part of the report on S7 highlights its respectable track record of growth in its operations and profitability since the establishment of its subsidiary Globus in 2008. In 8M2016 its passenger growth rate accelerated to 25%, after a 6% increase in 2015. Although demand for international air travel to/from Russia has slumped due to geopolitical developments, S7 has benefited from growth in the domestic market and from capacity cuts by foreign competitors on international routes. It has also benefited from the 2015 collapse of Transaero (although Aeroflot has gained more from this).
S7 Airlines, together with its subsidiary Globus, achieved a 25% increase in passenger numbers in the first eight months of 2016. Passengers flying the S7 brand totalled 10.6 million in 2015, making it Russia's second biggest airline after Aeroflot (thanks also to the collapse last year of former number two Transaero). This first part of CAPA's report examines S7's current network. A second part will analyse its growth, fleet and financial track record.
Moscow Domodedovo is S7's biggest airport and its main hub for the domestic market, which accounts for around two thirds of its seat capacity. Domodedovo is also its hub for international routes to Europe (mainly Eastern and Central Europe). Although it is the biggest airline at this airport, on a city pair basis on many routes from Moscow there is significant competition from the market leader Aeroflot, whose main hub is Sheremetyevo.
However, S7 also has a noteworthy network to cities in Northeast and Southeast Asia from regional airports elsewhere in Russia, in particular Novosibirsk and Vladivostok. Competition on these Asian routes is much less severe: indeed, S7 is the only operator on the majority of its routes to NE/SE Asia and its position is further boosted by codeshares (including with Aeroflot).
The Western Europe-North East Asia corridor has gained attention as the centrepiece of Finnair's expansion strategy. But just over 500 miles away in Moscow Aeroflot is quietly pursuing a role carrying transfer traffic between the regions. Although Aeroflot's spread of Asian destinations is not as extensive as Finnair's or those of the Gulf airlines, Aeroflot has favourable geography and lower costs. It is not subject to Russian overflight rights and associated costs. Finnair carries the tenth largest number of O&D passengers between Western Europe and Northeast Asia, while Aeroflot is 13th. After Emirates, Aeroflot is the second largest airline transporting passengers between the regions, but is based in neither.
A member of SkyTeam, Aeroflot is not part of the joint ventures (trans-Atlantic and Europe-Asia) that define the alliance's inner circle. Its long haul transfer strategy is focused on Western Europe-Asia. This strategy allows it some independence from SkyTeam but may also aggravate the alliance's established members, much the way that Turkish has irked Lufthansa and United. Aeroflot's connecting traffic, although still an overall small proportion of its international traffic, has grown faster than local traffic.
Odessa International Airport lies in the south of the Ukraine on the Black Sea. Although it is removed from the fighting in eastern Ukraine and the annexed Crimea those events have inevitably impacted on it, as they have elsewhere in a country that is trying to effect an economic recovery.
The airport is business-oriented, without much exposure to low cost airlines, but it represents a city-region that retains a robust and multi-faceted economy. A modernisation project has been delayed but the first part of it should be completed in 2016, thus giving it the opportunity to compete directly with the much larger airport at the capital, Kiev.
This two part report examines Odessa International Airport (OIA) by way of several sets of metrics, looks at the airports that are rivals to it, at its construction activities and its convoluted ownership.
Aeroflot Group's operating profit almost quadrupled in 2015. Among listed European legacy airlines, its 10.6% operating margin placed it behind only Icelandair, but ahead of IAG (these were the only others in double digits). This was achieved in spite of the severe recession in Russia, a nation which has been badly affected by falling oil prices and geopolitical events.
Aeroflot has benefited from the consolidation of Russian aviation and from capacity cuts by foreign airlines. The demise of Transaero accelerated the consolidation process in 2015, and Aeroflot will benefit further from this in 2016. The biggest contributor to the Group's 13% rise in passenger numbers was its low cost subsidiary Pobeda, which completed its first full year of operations in 2015. International transfer traffic through Aeroflot's Moscow Sheremetyevo hub also grew.
This year Aeroflot Group plans an acceleration of ASK growth to double-digit rates. Pobeda has launched its first international routes and the Group's regional airlines Rossiya, Donavia and Orenair will return to growth under the single consolidated brand of Rossiya, helped by routes and aircraft taken on from Transaero. The Group's longer-term goal to become one of Europe's top five airlines looks feasible.
Aeroflot focuses multi-brand strategy as 3Q operating profit doubles, benefits from Transaero demise
The Aeroflot Group more than doubled its operating profit for 3Q2015 and 9M2015. The weakness of RUB served to inflate both revenue and costs, but these two factors cancelled each other. As with other airlines, low fuel prices helped Aeroflot's results, but the underlying driver of its profit improvement was its growing market share and the positive impact this had on unit revenue.
Already Russia's largest airline group, it is benefiting from the weakness of domestic rivals and capacity cuts in Russia by foreign competitors. It is no longer buying a majority stake in Transaero, but is to take over some of its bankrupt rival's routes and this will further extend its market leadership.
Moreover, a successful first nine months for its LCC Pobeda and a plan to merge three of its regional airlines under the Rossiya brand help to sharpen Aeroflot's multi-brand strategy, making it the leader in each main market segment.