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Prospects of the regional aviation development in Siberia were discussed in Novosibirsk
November 27, 2013, the delegates of NOVOSIBIRSK International Airport took part in the session dedicated to the regional aviation development. The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Valeriy OKULOV, the Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Siberian Federal District Victor TOLOKONSKIY, ministers of the profile local departments in the Siberian Federal District, chief executives of the airlines and air transport enterprises.
The level of regional air traffic development reflects the economic growth of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the demand for transportation services within the Siberian region is expected to grow, as reports the Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Siberian Federal District Victor TOLOKONSKIY at the opening of the session. He emphasized that the regional air carriers and local authorities should participate in the state subsidy programme more actively. “Not only the Federal authorities are interested in the development of the regional air links. Firstly, this is essential for the constituent entities of the Federation”, commented the Plenipotentiary.
The Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Valeriy OKULOV highlighted implementation results of the government support programmes specified in RF Government Regulation No.265 dated March 27, 2013 and RF Government Regulation No.509 dated June 18, 2013. This way, in accordance with RF Government Regulation No.265, 28 routes get subsidized from the federal budget (including 11 routes within the Siberian Federal District). Following Government Regulation No.509, government support was provided for airlines who operated regional flights on 69 routes (including 16 routes within the Siberian Federal District). The total investment of the project exceeds 2.65 bln rubles, the current overall passenger traffic on subsidized flights made up 308 thousand passengers. Thus, lost more than 10 years ago, air links between the cities have been now restored, while the growing demand for regional air transportation services becomes noticed.
Quoting Valeriy OKULOV, the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation already drafted the resolution on prolongation of the regional air traffic subsidy programme on specified routes starting from January 1, 2014. Interline and Code-share agreements with airlines operating long-haul flights may become the principal criteria for the regional carriers to receive subsidies in the future. This is one of the market instruments to increase passenger load factor and, as a result, commercial viability of the regional air services, thus, reducing transfer fares and stimulating population mobility.
The Commercial Director of Airport Tolmachevo JSC Gregory POMERANTSEV underlined that the share of regional passengers within the overall passenger traffic at Novosibirsk airport increased from 3.8% to 7% in the period of 2010-2013. Following the results of January-October in 2013, the airport served over 1.8 mln passengers on domestic routes, including 28 thousand passengers registered on subsidized flights. Moreover, only for the last 11 months the direct air connections between Novosibirsk and such cities of the Siberian and Ural Federal Districts as Tyumen, Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk, Abakan, Kyzyl and Strezhevoy have been restored. Flights to these cities were launched thanks to this government support programme. For its part, Novosibirsk Tolmachevo airport offers a 40% discount on ground handling charges to those airlines who start regional flight operations from Novosibirsk as well as provides the route promotion support.
Range extension of the subsidized routes from 1,200 km to 1,800 km could substantially stimulate further air traffic development within the Siberian Federal District. Such initiative originates from the necessity of air traffic development in the whole vast territory of Siberia including the Far Northern regions. Besides, it is reasonable to consider inclusion of the Siberian Federal District in the flight subsidy programmes accessible for residents of the Far Eastern regions. The current state support system stimulates mobility of population travelling from this region mainly to Moscow while air transportation services to Siberia and the Urals remain expensive; often such flights require transferring via Moscow Air hub.
According to Gregory POMERANTSEV, development of regional air services will enable transfer passengers from Siberia to use the extensive route network of NOVOSIBIRSK International Airport which covers over 90 destinations in Russia and abroad and, thus, to develop an air hub in Novosibirsk.
All proposals highlighted at the debate will be considered by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation for improvement of measurers of State support for the regional air traffic system.
NOVOSIBIRSK International Airport is the largest air hub in Russia east of the Urals on major transit routes between Europe and Asia. The domestic terminal capacity makes up to 1,800 passengers per hour, while the capacity on international flights – up to 750 passengers per hour. The airport has two runways. In 2013 it expects to serve 3.7 million passengers.
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