8 Jul 2022 18:05

Russian airlines could carry 19 mln passengers in 2022 due to restrictions in south - minister

MOSCOW. July 8 (Interfax) - Extending restrictions at airports in southern Russia until the autumn could lead to a decrease in the passenger traffic by Russian airlines by 10 million and, by the end of 2022, by 19 million people, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said during a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and cabinet ministers.

Savelyev said in April that by the end of 2022, Russian airlines would be able to transport 90 million people within the country and 10 million people abroad. Traffic fell 46% to 69 million in 2020, against the backdrop of the global Covid crisis,. More than 111 million passengers were carried in 2021.

"We will be 10 million passengers short just for the period from May to August due to the closure of airports in the south, unfortunately. This does not include transfers and additional scheduled flights. The reduction in passenger traffic may amount to about 19 million from March to December, if the closure of airports in southern Russia is extended until the end of the year," Savelyev said, during his report to Putin.

He also said the restriction of flights to 11 airports in southern Russia had already led to a decrease in passenger traffic. "According to our latest data, air transportation fell by 9% in six months of this year compared to the same period last year," Savelyev said.

He said existing state support measures made it possible to keep air fares at the same level. "At the same time, we are seeing a decline in a number of areas. And the most striking examples in tourist areas are Moscow-St. Petersburg and Moscow-Kazan," Savelyev said.

He said the Transport Ministry was implementing three programs to subsidize air transportation, for which 27.5 billion rubles had been allocated this year. "We plan to carry about 5 million passengers in the year as a whole, thanks to the subsidy programs," Savelyev said.

Savelyev said that this year a total of 153 billion rubles were allocated to support the aviation sector in Russia, including 100 billion rubles to support carriers in the summer season.

"We have now approved a monthly plan for allocating funds, and we have signed relevant agreements with airlines. We will already be paying the first 30 billion rubles, the airlines have confirmed it," Savelyev said.