St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport: MoT approves 7th freedom ops

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Russia’s second city, St Petersburg, has experienced considerable passenger growth at its main airport, Pulkovo, but it is still well behind the Moscow airports, which collectively have approximately half the nation’s air traffic.

Proposals to introduce an open skies regime specifically for the city, an unusual measure, have been put forward for several years, but encountered opposition from cautious regulators who feared Russia’s airlines might be swamped with foreign airlines operating under fifth and sixth freedom rules.

Now, a ‘halfway house’ will be introduced by which foreign carriers will be allowed to introduce point-to-point services from 21 countries, in some cases from any city, and in others from selected ones only.

It is a scheme which should be of economic benefit to the city, which is home to President Putin and which will be watched carefully by strategists elsewhere, and not only in Russia.

But for Russia’s airlines, it is a wake-up call.

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