Ryanair, Europe's largest discount airline, has announced plans to begin regular flights from Dublin to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Experts believe that the new routes could increase traffic between the cities by 35-40 percent and revive competition in the market.
If the decision is approved by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, flights could begin as soon as the end of March 2014.
In an official note sent by the Irish embassy to the Russian foreign ministry, Irish officials expressed their desire to see the Russian side approve the decision.
Ryanair announced its intention to fly to Russia in 2012, but the start date was postponed several times. Representatives of the company attributed this to administrative barriers on the Russian side.
Oleg Panteleev, head of the Aviaport analytical agency, said that Ryanair may find some challenges in the Russian market. "We must understand that the Irish airline operates in Europe, where discount airlines are common. The Russian market mainly consists of fairly wealthy passengers who fly regularly," Panteleev said.
He added that the arrival of a discount airline in the Russian market could increase traffic on connecting flights by approximately 35-40 percent. "The only thing holding back transportation development is demand. Ryanair has a lot of potential. However, if the airline sees the flights are filling up, it will not be interested in reducing prices, it will try to get even more from this market," said Panteleev, adding that the company could also attract some passengers that would have made the connection between Russia and Ireland via Helsinki.
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