Despite the tragic accident of Aeroflot’s Superjet 100 at Sheremetyevo and the overall sluggish Russian economy in the period, the local air travel market remained surprisingly buoyant, with an overall traffic growth rate of 12.3 per cent in the first five months of 2019.
According to the latest data collected by Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya, in the period from January to May of this year the country’s carriers served 44.9 million passengers, with the international segment (up by 18 per cent) growing faster than domestic (up 8.4 per cent). However, the number of domestic passengers (26.2 million) remained higher than international (18.7 million). At the same time, traffic between Russia and the nations of the CIS shrunk significantly – by 7.5 per cent, marking a negative trend in that segment.
In the five-month period the volume of freight carried by Russian airlines decreased by 6.7 per cent compared with the first five months of 2018.
Meanwhile, the top-five list of Russia’s largest airlines – still dominated by Aeroflot Group member airlines – has changed. The title carrier Aeroflot remains the market leader with 14.5 million passengers, an 11.3 per cent year-on-year improvement in the five months and the group’s low-cost subsidiary Pobeda is still way ahead of the market in terms of its traffic growth rate, with an impressive 45.1 per cent improvement, although it ceded its third place position to sister airline Rossiya and is now fourth largest, with 3.7 million passengers served.
Rossiya Airlines is another subsidiary of the Aeroflot Group and carried in excess of 3.7 million passengers between January and May, a 6.9 per cent growth rate.
Private ownership carrier S7 Airlines has retained its title of second largest, having enjoyed a 13.9 per cent expansion. It served 4.6 million passengers.
Ural Airlines, which carried 3.3 million passengers, 9.1 per cent more than in the same period of 2018, completes the top-five league table.
Overall, the five largest airlines were collectively accountable for carrying 29.8 million passengers at an average growth rate of 14.1 per cent. Their share of the market continues to increase and has now reached 66.4 per cent.