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Winter Olympic Games push demand for air tickets to Sochi steeply up

February 06, 2014, 0:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW

About 20% of transportations will make foreign flights

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© ИТАР-ТАСС/ Виктор Клюшкин

MOSCOW, February 05 /ITAR-TASS/. Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi have pushed the demand for airline tickets there by dozens of percent, prompting a number of airlines to increase the number of flights to that destination, industry executives said Wednesday.

Flights from abroad will stand at 20% of the total, they said.

Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot has put up for sale more than 141,000 tickets for the period of February 5 through to March 17, a spokesman for the press service said. “At this moment, 82,000 tickets have been reserved. This is 58% of the seat capacity offered for the Olympic Games.”

On the whole, the demand for Sochi-bound flights has grown by a factor of three versus the typical sales occurring during this time of the year in other years.

Rossiya airline, a subsidiary of the Aeroflot group, has also scheduled about 90 flights for the OIympic/Paralympic period in a bid to bring more than 20,000 passengers to Sochi from St Petersburg and cities of Russia’s northwest, executives said without specifying the amount of tickets sold already.

Rossiya will use the most capacious jets like Boeing 767 and A320 on the routes between the Northwest and Sochi on the days amassed arrivals and departures of sports fans, the spokesman said.

The Moscow-based VIM-Avia launched its Olympic program January 27 and is going to round it up February 27. It increased the number of daily flights bound for Sochi to ten from two depending on the particular dates.

“Some dates will see peak loads while for some other dates the demand is pretty moderate,” VIM-Avia press secretary Yelena Fyodorova told Itar-Tass. “Quite naturally, the Olympic Games have exerted an effect on the seat-load factor, which has gone up noticeably.”

“If we do a computation on the average, the current airfares practically the same as in February 2013, although they may be somewhat higher on the dates of peak loads and much lower on low days /when a ticket may cost as little as 1,500 rubles/,” she said. At the current exchange rate, USD 1 is equivalent of 35.0 Russian rubles.

One of Russia’s major carriers, S7 Airlines, will be performing seven flights a day between Moscow and Sochi from February 6 through to February 22 versus the four flights performed in other periods. It puts Boeings 737-800 (160 passengers aboard) and Airbuses A 319/329/321 (seating capacity from 128 to 219 passengers) on the Sochi route.

UTair did not change the flight program for the Games - it offers two flights a day on Boeings 737. Officials at the airline’s headquarters recalled that it froze the airfares back in the autumn of 2013. “Flights to Sochi on the 6th and 7th of February have been fully sold out,” the press service said.

One more major operator, Transaero, did not change the flight schedules in connection with the Olympics either - it offers daily flights aboard a Tupolev-214 jet from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport and up to four flights a week aboard a Boeing 737 NG.

“Virtually all the tickets for the flights during the Olympics have been booked,” a Transaero executive said.

Ural Airlines offers a Moscow-Sochi flight for 1,700 rubles “but naturally we’ve sold out practically all the seats already,” a press service staff member said. It makes one flight a day between Moscow and Sochi and three flights a week between Yekaterinburg and Sochi.

Also, the airline offers flights between Sochi and other Russian cities with connections in Moscow.

“Foreign flights make up about 20% of the total,” an executive at the press service of Bazel Aero, the operator of Sochi airport told Itar-Tass. “During the Games, the airport will receive flights from Stockholm, Paris, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Washington, Tokyo, Shanghai, and other cities.”

The list foreign airlines that will perform direct flights to Sochi includes Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Borajet, Ukrainian International Airlines, Air Armenia, Turkish Airelines, and Uzbekistan Havo Yullari.

From January 24 through to March 27, Lufthansa has 27 flights from Frankfurt, including three flights for the Paralymic Games, Martin Riecken, the airline’s director for corporate communications in Europe said. The flights will be performed by A 321 jets.

In addition, two flights from Munich will bring the German Olympic team and delegates, he said.

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