Aeroflot Group established (06-Nov-2013) its new Far Eastern carrier Aurora, with Konstantin Sukhorebrik appointed the carrier's director general. Aurora is the result of the merger of SAT Airlines and Vladivostok Avia, with Aeroflot taking a 51% stake and Sakhalin Oblast 49%. In addition to existing Boeing 737s, the carrier will receive three A319 aircraft by the end of 2013, with a further four A319 aircraft due for delivery in 2014. Aurora will also operate an unspecified number of regional aircraft, increasing the size of its fleet to 40 aircraft by 2018. Between 2013 and 2018, the carrier plans to increase the number of its destinations from 30 to 128 and the number of weekly frequencies from 172 to 534. Aeroflot is projecting passenger traffic for Aurora of 2.4 million in 2018. Aeroflot director general Vitaly Saveliev said: "The consolidated Far Eastern airline was a strategic idea for a long time, from now on it is a reality. Aurora Airlines will help to enhance the economic potential of the Far East, increase the mobility of its population and contribute to the growth and reinforcement of local aviation personnel. The new air carrier will be an important part of Aeroflot Group and will strengthen its synergy. We expect an effective cooperation with the federal and regional authorities in the further development of this project, essential both for the Far East and Russia." [more - original PR] [more - original PR - Russian]
Aeroflot Group establishes Aurora, completing merger of SAT Airlines and Vladivostok Avia
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Aeroflot Group's transformation: driven by strategic refocus, guided by the hand of Russian State
In recent years, the Aeroflot Group has undergone a significant transformation. From 2009 to 2016 the group's passenger numbers increased fourfold, its load factor improved by 11.3ppts and its revenue grew almost five times.
During this time the group's structure has moved from one of non integrated subsidiary airlines to a clearly focused multi brand approach targeting different market segments. The Aeroflot Group has also refocused its fleet strategy, reducing the number of aircraft types from 18 in 2011 to seven in 2016.
Some measure of the success of Aeroflot's transformation, beyond the obvious growth in scale, can be seen from its improved financial results. In 2016 it reported record profits, in spite of a second successive year of a shrinking economy in Russia. These results were helped by lower fuel prices and by currency movements, but Aeroflot Group's operating margin of 12.8% was better than those of other major European legacy airline groups.
Aeroflot's achievements also owe much to the government directed consolidation of the Russian market in recent years. Indeed, the Russian government's influence has long been a guiding force in Aeroflot's development.
Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.