Transaero Selects Vnukovo as Moscow Hub

Russian carrier Transaero Airlines will focus its operations in the country’s capital city from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport, while new shareholder, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, finalises its future strategy for the carrier. From the forthcoming winter schedule, effective from October 25, 2015 Transaero confirms all its Moscow flights will operate from Vnukovo Airport.

The airline had for a long-time used Domodedovo International Airport as its main scheduled base in Moscow, supplemented by leisure-based operations from Sheremetyevo International Airport. However, in May 2012 it introduced flights from Vnukovo, until then known mainly for its domestic activities within the Russian Federation.

The move was driven by overcrowding at Domodedovo and concerns over development plans at the facility. Transaero confirmed at the time that through the ten-year agreement it would “constantly increase its capacity” with Vnukovo representatives having made guarantees to provide the necessary infrastructure to support Transaero’s development plans including slots, parking positions and boarding bridges capable of supporting its expanding widebodied fleet.

Transaero said this latest decision was made with consideration for commercial and logistic advantages of flight concentration in a single Moscow airport. “This concentration of operations fully meets interests of passengers. Now they have the opportunity to make a transfer between all the airline’s flights via the hi-tech Terminal A of Vnukovo airport. Its infrastructure provides for comfortable and fast connections,” it said in a statement.

“It is of particular importance that Transaero will concentrate all its operational resources in a single airport hub. This will allow enhancing the efficiency of passenger services as well as aircraft maintenance,” it added.

Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data highlights Transaero’s operations at the three Moscow airports over the past ten years and how Vnukovo has overtaken Donmodedovo as its largest Moscow hub by capacity this year.

Early this month in a major consolidation in the Russian aviation market, national carrier Aeroflot Russian Airlines revealed it was in discussions to acquire a majority stake in its largest rival, Transaero. The surprise announcement, driven by the country’s ongoing financial crisis, has been approved by the Russian Government and if completed will continue the recent airline consolidation in the country which has already seen Aeroflot take over a number of its regional rivals.

However, as this story was published there were growing suggestions that Aeroflot would walk away from the deal and effectively force the closure and bankruptcy of Transaero due to increasing debts and liabilities.

The crisis has already forced UTair to significantly downsize its activities in Russia and Transaero’s financial difficulties have accelerated since the aggravation of the Ukrainian crisis, and the resulting European and American sanctions again Russia.

This resulted in a weaker rouble and a decline in the international traffic from Russia towards the markets typically core to Transaero’s business in regions such as the Caribbean, and south East Asia, with Russian travellers retreating towards domestic destinations such as the Black Sea area. According to analysts, Transaero’s reduced fares strategy did not generate the expected turnaround and further deteriorated the overall airline financial situation.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…