10 May 2023 09:35

Russian airlines to not get access to flights abroad if share of their traffic in Russia is less than 70% - Transport Ministry

MOSCOW. May 10 (Interfax) - Russia's Transport Ministry has drafted a new version of the order on the rules for issuing permits for international flights under which the interagency commission that grants them will be able to refuse such permits if domestic passenger traffic makes up less than 70% of an airline's total traffic in the month preceding the month of the commission meeting.

"The authorized body [...] refuses to provide the government service by sending notification with designation of routes by email in the following cases [...]: the amount of traffic on domestic airways is less than 70% of the total number of passengers carried by the airline as of the first date of the month preceding the month in which the interagency commission meeting is held," the draft order, posted on the regulation.gov.ru website, states.

The ministry also plans to make the amount of traffic within Russia a criterion for assessing airlines seeking a permit. They will get zero points in voting if the share of their domestic traffic is 70-75%; one point with a share of 76-80%; two points with 81-85%; three points with 86-90%; four points with 91-95%; and five points with 95-100%.

Under the current ministry order, the chances of receiving a permit depend on the amount of an airline's traffic in Russia's Far East Federal District.

Other new proposed criteria are the share of aircraft in an airline's fleet that are listed only in the Russian registry, as well as payload percentage and seat occupancy rate.

At the same time, the criteria about carriers having IATA operational safety audit (IOSA) certificates and their level of safety and service stipulated in the current rules are not included in the draft order. But the ministry proposes to keep the criteria regarding flights using domestic aircraft.

If the order is approved, it will go into effect on September 1, 2023 and remain in force until September 1, 2028.

In March 2022, after the start of the military operation in Ukraine, new rules were introduced for Russian airlines' access to international flights, under which the interagency commission can decide to temporarily transfer permits from one carrier to another at extraordinary meetings.

The Federal Air Transport Agency said that when voting the commission takes into account criteria such as total number of aircraft, including registered in Russia and owned by Russian companies; regularity of flights; and number of warnings and orders regarding unaddressed violations of flight safety requirements.

The criteria were later amended to include the number of operated domestic routes in the week preceding the week of the extraordinary commission meeting.

Traffic within Russia totalled 77.7 million passengers in 2022, which amounted to 82% of total air passenger traffic, the Air Transport Agency reported.