European carriers get Russia access from EX-YU countries


European-registered airlines, including low cost carriers, will now be permitted to operate flights from Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia to St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. As a result, they will no longer be restricted by stringent bilateral air agreements in force between these countries and Russia, however, the rights are only valid for St Petersburg. No other Russian city allows seventh freedom flights which permits international carriers to maintain services between two countries they are not registered in. St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport projects that the permissions will help boost its annual passenger traffic from its current twenty million to 35 million by 2025. The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation approved a list of thirty countries for which such rights will be enforced. They include the three former Yugoslav states.

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Maxim Akimov, endorsed the policy, adding it would undergo a five-year trial period. “The seventh freedom rights are unprecedented for Russia”, Mr Akimov said. Leonid Sergeyev, who heads Pulkovo’s managing company Northern Capital Gateway, noted, “By obtaining this permission, St Petersburg has opened up to low cost foreign airlines”. At the end of the five-year pilot project, Mr Akimov said the routes “could either be handed over to Russian airlines or stay with the foreigners”. President Vladimir Putin was reported this summer to have backed the airport’s proposal, while Russia’s domestic airlines have opposed Pulkovo’s move, citing increased competition.

Wizz Air is a prime candidate to exercise these rights from Serbia and Macedonia where it boasts a base. While Air Serbia maintains seasonal flights between Belgrade and St Petersburg, there are no services between Macedonia and Russia. Similarly, there are no flights between Slovenia and St Petersburg. However, it is likely that Europe’s budget carriers will primarily focus on exercising these rights from Western Europe. The policy gives permission for any carrier from the selected countries to operate from the other to St Petersburg. As a result, this could be utilised by Air Serbia as well. The countries from which there will be seventh freedom rights to St Petersburg include: Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Estonia. On the other hand, some restrictions will be applied for the following countries. Flights ftom the following will not be permitted: Austria (all cities except Vienna), Bulgaria (all cities except Sofia), the United Kingdom (all cities except London), Germany (all cities except Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich), Spain (all cities except Barcelona and Malaga), Italy (all cities except Rome and Milan) Cyprus (all cities except Larnaca and Paphos), France (all cities except Paris and Nice) and Czech Republic (all cities except Prague).




Comments

  1. Well there goes the last reason out the door for Wizz Air to get Macedonian AOC.

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  2. In my opinion these could work
    SKP-LED
    INI-LED
    LJU-LED

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    1. I don't think LED is such a big market for it to work from Nis. It didn't really work out for Air Serbia from Belgrade. They fly there only during the summer and for two weeks around New Year.

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    2. If BEG as the absolutely single biggest market in ex-YU could barely support LED flights then I don't think INI or SKP could either. Maybe North Macedonian government will subsidize W6 to fly there.

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    3. So? There are routes that don't work from BEG that work from other cities. The markets are different.

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    4. This is hardly a gasterbajter route so don't see Wizz rushing to launch it out of SKP.

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    5. same like Barcelona, Malta and Larnaca. Oh wait!

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    6. Malta is a gasto destination while LCA gets subsidies. BCN is the only destination in their hub that's not gasto.

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    7. lol mr. high density whats the point if Larnaka gets subsidies or not. The planes are full

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    8. Which is why I said that LED can only work if subsidies are handed out.

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    9. lol. what have SUBSIDIES with FULL aircrafts ? Either u have pax or not. Jesus Christ!

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    10. Subsidies are given for LCA, Turku.. so Wizz offers unreasonably low fares which stimulate demand. If tickets were normal (enough to cover costs) I highly doubt they would be full. So please chill.

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    11. Ajme full flights don't mean profits. Look at OU and their FRA and MUC flights. JP also flew full to Germany.

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    12. Obviously some people can’t see pst the word ‘subsidies’. Whether it’s problem with maths or something else I’m not sure.

      To make it clear: support of 5 Eur per pax does *nothing* to make or break a route. It just minimizes risk when it’s launched.

      And on top of all that Wizz pricing has nothing to do with the fact there is support for the route or not. It’s fully dynamic and tied to ***DEMAND***.

      So yeah, some people just can’t get over the fact Skopje might be an independently successful market beyond ‘obvious’ destinations, i.e. whatever has been made obvious by people who were willing to risk it.

      LED is a great destination for Wizz to try out from both Belgrade and Skopje.

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    13. Why not from Montenegro?

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    14. @Anon13:17 - they can't launch flights from Montenegro because it's not on the list of countries 7th freedom flights will be allowed to/from that's in the article.

      If you realised that but you're asking why they didn't include Montenegro - that's probably because there's already several Russian airlines flying to LED from Tivat seasonally, and they want to preserve their market. There's no incentive for the Russian government to allow 7FF for destinations that are already well-covered by their own airlines, introducing competition - they're fairly protectionist, so at least they don't see a point in doing it.

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    15. INI can be most reasonable since it can cover Belgrade, Sofia and Skopje region.

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    16. Great chance for INI.

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    17. SOF is getting LED flights, so it will be hard for INI to compete that.

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  3. Quite a surprising decision from the Russians to allow seventh freedom.

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    1. Not really, they only chose LED because it is a tourist destination they want to promote and Russian carriers have not been aggressive enough from there. They need inbound tourists, not outbound so bringing LCCs from the rest of Europe is key.

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    2. Also LED airport is owned by Fraport and a Greek company so they probably pressured the government to allow these flights to increase traffic.

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  4. What about Croatia, Montenegro and Bih?

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    1. They are not on the list.

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    2. I realize that but why? Seems like the only 3 countries in Europe not included in this.

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    3. Croatia already flies to St. Petersburg from Zagreb

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    4. ^ They fly it seasonally. And JU flies St Petersburg from Belgrade but it is included in the list.

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    5. is Aeroflot flying to the coast?

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    6. To Split seasonal and to Tivat all year round

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    7. What about Dubrovnik?

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    8. Dubrovnik is too expensive destination for most Russians.

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    9. @Anon 15:48 that's why they are building a airport Trebenje in Bih

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    10. MNE,to be precise,TIV is already well covered with bunch of RU airlines+YM(DP,FV,SU,U6..+YM) with several flights per day(from 3 to 6,7-sat/sun).Protectionism,nothing else.

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  5. In theory Air Serbia could start flights from LJU to LED. Also from BUD to LED ��

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    1. They can also start Vilnius to LED. It's just a question if its profitable.

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    2. It is not only question what Russians would allow, but also what Croatians, Hungarians etc. would allow. The fact that Russians would be ok with JU flying BUD-LED doesn't mean it would be possible in view of Hungarian legislation as Serbia is not a EU member. I leave aside that it would make no sense for JU.

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    3. @Anon09:22 Remember Serbia is a part of the ECAA. However Croatia is not relevant here because it's not on the list of countries in the article above.

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  6. Like the article says, I doubt W6 will focus on ex-Yu countries to open up these flights.

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  7. Russia-Macedonia market is quite large and underserved. I do hope Wizz Air starts flying.

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    1. Skopje-St Petersburg year round and Ohrid - St Petersburg seasonally.

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    2. If it is that big why was it ignored for so long? Pobeda or any other airline out there could have launched flights by now. If they didn't then it means market is just not that big or big enough.

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    3. So what you are saying is that all routes in the world that have potential are already served and flown by airlines? Not a single unserved route left? Just because someone hasn't launched a particular route does not mean there is no potential, market or that it is unprofitable.

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    4. Well Alitalia launch FCO-SKP and found out there was no potential. EW put tickets on sale for MUC-SKP and gave up. Airlines are not lining up to launch SKP flights which is an indication of a limited market demand. If Alitalia and Eurowings failed then what makes you think LED out of all places will work? Wishful thinking is one thing but realistic facts are another.

      Russia has LCCs that are flying around the Balkans. If they skipped SKP then it means they did their homework. ;)

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    5. becuasse its FRIGGING Wizzair that made over 31 routes work from Skopje.

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    6. Yeah yeah all I see is excuses but then again the market is probably not big enough to have more than one serious player. We all remember what happened when the government tried to bring in a second LCC

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    7. well the airport will handle 2.2 million this year, by 2025 we could be looking at 3 million so please let's see how things go in SKP

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    8. @9.50 yea we saw what happened. Wizz switched into turbo and launched Ryanairs routes on theor own.

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    9. I wouldn't use turbo to describe it

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  8. I don't think Wizz Air will launch BEG-LED, they are too busy flying out of tertiary German airports. Just like they ignored Athens, Barcelona or Berlin which are much larger markets.

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    1. Yes but in LED they wouldn't face any competition.

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    2. That or Rome, Naples, Catania etc.

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  9. Interesting concept.

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  10. The only route I see launching as a result of this is SKP-LED. Simply because Russia market is not served from Mac. and because Wizz has largeish base in SKP.

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    1. Yes it could happen but remember that Wizz only launches new routes from Macedonia with subsidies.

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    2. Iceland is another market that is not served from SKP, does it mean SKP-KEF is imminent? The only way SKP-LED will work is if the government gives them subsidies.

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    3. ah the dezurni hejter give us a break at least on the weekends

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    4. It's not about being haters it's about being realistic, that's all.

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    5. North Macedonia was not even in the top 10 most profitable markets for Wizz so let's not lose focus.

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    6. Anonymous at 09:52
      Source for this claim?
      Ι would guess that with all these subsidies plus the low costs of having crews based in a country like MK it would be a very profitable base.

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    7. You can find the list of the most profitable markets in their annual reports, same as the list of markets with the largest drops in profits where Serbia and Bosnia were listed. So obviously things you mentioned are unfortunately not enough.

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    8. link or it didnt happen

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    9. They don’t have such a report.

      What you’re quoting is an independent report (Apex) which has quite some hikes in its methodology, starting from load factor and extending to airport taxes and so on.

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    10. *holes instead of hikes

      Actually it’s very profitable. It just wasn’t covered in that report due to an oversight on how they sorted the countries, which was pointed out to them.. but you don’t follow their posts on LinkedIn where this was originally posted so you wouldn’t know.

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  11. the "expretrs" here dont even know that they (few airlines) have already asked to fly from 33 countries to LED ... but you know better

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  12. Skopje was in the first draft of Pobeda's destination list https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/39271-russias-pobeda-set-to-commence-intl-ops-this-winter

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    1. I guess there must be a reason why it wasn't launched?

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  13. Probabilities:

    Slovenia: LED-LJU <50%, LJU is not really popular with low cost airlines but who knows
    Serbia: BEG 50%, there is a market but also an airline flying this route already and the serbian authorities are somewhat unpredictable
    Macedonia: SKP 50% Wizz seems to make every route work out of SKP

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  14. If Aeroflot can make LJU-SVO double daily, LED can work 2x per week at least seasonally in my opinion.

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    1. the big question here is: is LJu as an airport too expensive for lcc's?

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  15. Why do we always end up in discussions over subsidies? Leave it be.

    If they need to be given to attract airlines, so be it. The same goes for supporting airlines with creative accounting. Usually, what goes around comes around.

    We can't discuss the real competitiveness of Skopje when the "local" airline flies only point to point routes. However, without it, travelers from/to would have to rely on connections that would not be affordable. Good both for SKP and for the people of NMKD.

    Russia is doing something similar but has done it the other way around. No subsidies, no domestic airlines. They gave the freedom to airlines to open routes from various points in Europe to LED. LED appears to be underserved by foreign operators. With a situation like this, the number of people visiting St. Petersburg is less than what the Russians would want. Russians gave strict permissions for countries and cities where the flights could be opened. Foreign airlines will carry the burden of actually opening the flights, and no subsidies will ever be given. It is a pilot project after all (with a substantial political background, as usual)

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  16. What puzzles me is the current list of "banned" cities - looks so random. Visas were lifted in October for EI citizens to visit LED, then they place bans...so absurd

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  17. For the most of this countries,we need visa to enter Russia. Thats a big reason why Russia isnt the first ”weekend” choice.

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    1. That is very true! However, Russia recently expanded their cruise-passenger visa regime for St Petersburg to passengers arriving by air: https://pulkovoairport.ru/en/passengers/evisa/

      8 day tourist stays with a free e-visa, albeit limited to StPetersburg area only, coupled with more non-stop (cheap?) flights from various European countries, will make it much more attractive for a city-break. There's loads to see, the palaces/museums are world-beating, and it's kind of a Russia-light experience overall. And remember most Europeans definitely trust EasyJet much more than they trust various secondary Russian carriers. I'd expect tour organisers from whatever cities the first new flights will be launched to start marketing 4-day StP tours immediately.

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  18. Wizz must launch BEG-LED. They are already losing the battle by stagnating in a growing market. This is a unique opening that they could exploit. They could easily operate it two times per week in summer and around the big holidays. Otherwise soon enough they will be left with no unique markets they could use.

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    1. The better option is Vnukova or Samara airport.
      There are still many Russian cities to be connected. Yekatrinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladivostok and Tyumen.

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    2. Good idea. Air Serbia's second long haul route should be VVO instead of PVG or YYZ

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    3. Why do you think VVO has no potential?
      Did you also know that Novisibirsk is the 3rd richest city in Russia?

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    4. If Serbian Tourist Organization wasn't this useless, they could have promoted Serbia in various Russian cities. Demand from Moscow is booming and that's without any kind of promotion.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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