VLADIVOSTOK, August 30 (Itar-Tass) —— More than 63,000 residents of the Primorye territory bought discount tickets from Vladivostok to European Russia and back this year. The demand was the highest for flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
More than 44,000 Primorye residents bought discount tickets to Moscow, and some 10,000 tickets to St. Petersburg were sold, the territorial administration told Itar-Tass.
In all, nearly 137,000 Primorye residents will have the access to the federal discount program this year. The discount fee of the round trip between Vladivostok and Moscow is 13,000 rubles.
Routes between Far Eastern cities, including Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Magadan and Yakutsk, were added to the discount program this year.
“The program made flights to central Russia more accessible for residents of the Far East,” Governor Sergei Darkin said.
The program was started up in 2009, and nearly 77,000 people used it last year.
Twelve airlines are taking part in the discount programs on the routes connecting European Russia to the Far East this year, a source at the Federal Air Transport Agency told Itar-Tass.
"Aeroflot - Russian Airlines, Transaero, Sibir, Rossiya, Yakutia, Vladivostok Avia, Urals Airlines, Nordavia, Taimyr, Mirny Alrosa airline, VIM Avia and Utair service 30 routes between Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi and the Russian Far East. Discount tickets are already on sale," he said.
The program starts on April 1 and will be valid through October 31 for Russian citizens younger than 23 or older than 60.
A ticket from Moscow to Vladivostok will cost 6,500 rubles, while a ticket from Moscow to Anadyr will cost 9,100 rubles. The price of a ticket from St. Petersburg to Magadan will be the same. A ticket from Sochi to Yakutsk will cost nearly 10,000 rubles.
In all, 2.5 billion rubles are assigned for the program this year, the agency said.
The Federal Air Transport Agency informs Russian airlines about the beginning issue of subsidizes for passenger transportation at discount rates in early January. The applicants have to indicate the routes and the type of aircraft to make regular flights.
The discounts are available on the routes from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi to Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok, Magadan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Mirny, Khabarovsk, Polyarny, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, Neryungri, Norilsk, Kyzyl, Anadyr and Komsomolsk-on-Amur and the other way.
Airlines using modern Russian aircraft, such as Tupolev Tu-204 and Tu-214, Ilyushin Il-96, and Antonov An-148 and An-140, have the priority access to the subsidies.
The passenger traffic between European Russia and the Russian Far East enlarged by 12%, while the general passenger traffic in the country reduced.
The discount program was a factor, which helped enlarge air traffic in Russia.
"The Russian government's policy of preferential air transportation fees for Far Eastern residents was important," Transport Clearing Chamber President Sergei Ilyichev said. "The number of routes with such benefits grew a lot in 2010, and plenty of airlines signed contracts with the Federal Air Transport Agency."