MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) - In 2014 the low-cost carrier Dobrolet will open flights from Moscow to eight other Russian cities. Also, some international flights will be available as of 2016, Aeroflot officials announced during the new air carrier's presentation in Itar-Tass on Thursday.
The officials said earlier that Aeroflot took full control of subsidiary low-cost carrier LLC Dobrolet and owns a 100% stake in the project, registered on October 4 this year. At the end of August Aeroflot board of directors discussed the creation of an affiliated low cost carrier and decided to start financing the project. The money will begin to be disbursed in 2013 and more investments into the project will be reserved in the 2014 budget.
In the first year of its operation the low-cost carrier will make flights from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Makhachkala, Krasnodar, Ufa, Kaliningrad and Novy Urengoy. In the next two years its flight map will expand to include 19 routes and then 26. By 2016 the company expects to be making international flights to Kiev, Istanbul and Yerevan.
In its first year in business the low-cost carrier will use eight Boeing-737 jetliners (the first has already been leased from Aviacapital service, Rostec’s subsidiary). It was said at the presentation that within five years the air carrier’s fleet will grow to 40 planes - new jetliners only.
The planes will be equipped with non-reclining seats and there will be neither personal entertainment systems, nor business-class seats. Cabin cleaning will be done once a day. An extra comfort seat reservation with wider legroom, a priority landing request or an extra luggage registration will be provided for additional fees. Only strollers and baby food will be allowed onboard for free.
There will be a 40% discount off tickets as compared to traditional air carriers.
“Cutting the costs will make it possible even to enter into launch price competition with rail transport (first-class and sleeping cars in the first place, and, in case of considerably lower costs, even economy class passengers could possibly afford it),” the company said in a statement.
The low-cost carrier’s investment programme will total around $100 million for the upcoming two years. The current general director of Dobrolet is the ex-director of Avianova low-cost carrier, Vladimir Gorbunov. The company’s management will make all financial decisions at its sole discretion. The independent and simple business structure will allow the company to promptly react to the fast-changing market environment.
However, the inauguration of the air carrier will be possible only after the amendments to Russia’s Airline Code. In particular, there should be permission to sell non-returnable tickets, cancel free snacks onboard, impose luggage fees and hire non-resident pilots (that would resolve the problem of pilots' shortage). Aeroflot hopes these amendments will take effect by the end of this year.