Air traffic to the East in 2012?

As Europe continues towards a Euro crisis, air traffic to and from the East seems to be growing. Scheduled passenger flights to and from Russia are an obvious example.

Most forecasters expect airlines reliant on traffic inside Western Europe to have a difficult time this year. Even easyJet Switzerland seems somewhat affected, its 12 Geneva-based aircraft having only made a total of 20 flights from, and back to, Geneva yesterday, 10 January, as against the 27 of the corresponding Tuesday in 2011.

Overall, the statistics for scheduled traffic appear to show a slight drop from the corresponding period of 2011, despite the current excellent snow conditions. This might in part be due to the poor economic situation in the United Kingdom, which had already caused the Thomas Cook travel agency to cut back, and now appears also to be seriously affecting the Flybe airline. This will become clearer when we get the full monthly statistics for January.

In contrast, there has been a considerable increase in the regular scheduled, or charter, flights to Moscow and St Petersburg since 1 January. Part of this increase is because of a new Russian airline, which Geneva calls Nordstar but whose proper name appears to be Taimyr Air Company, which is operating flights to and from Moscow Domodedovo airport (the airport used for Swiss flights). It would seem likely that at least some of the passengers are "ordinary" Russians coming to ski here (there are a number of super-rich Russians who come here in their private jets, and are then whisked to the ski stations by helicopter!).

It is curious to note that all aircraft of the Russian airlines are registered in either Bermuda (VP-Bxx or VQ-Bxx) or Ireland (EI-xxx). One might suppose that this may be for tax reasons.

One unfortunate thing about these flights of between 3 and 4 hours duration is that a significant number are scheduled to leave Geneva shortly before 10 pm, being thus the last scheduled outgoing flights of the day. Not only is this unfortunate for the passengers, who arrive in Moscow in the VERY early morning, but also sometimes for the population around Geneva airport, since the aircraft quite often leave late (the latest takeoff this year is just after 11pm). Also, these are certainly unwelcome to those people living in or around Ferney Voltaire, since when taking off over Vernier they do a quick U-turn to the right. I had believed that ther was an agreement to ban this trajectory after 10pm, but it appears not yet to be the case.

If the Swiss Franc stays strong then we might have people going to Russia for skiing after the Winter Olympics there in 2014.

12:40 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (0) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

The comments are closed.