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Budget Airline Germanwings Eyes Soft Landing at Pulkovo

Published: March 7, 2006 (Issue # 1150)


Budget airline Germanwings is to start regular flights between St. Petersburg and Germany. The first low-cost carrier to establish itself in the city, Germanwings will serve Cologne and Bonn three times a week from April 29, Prime-TASS reported last week.

The opening of a new route is aimed at improving economic relations between St. Petersburg and Cologne, where many companies of strategic importance to German economic development are based, Prime-TASS reported citing a statement released by Germanwings.

According to Andreas Engel, director for International Public Relations at Germanwings, the company will use one of their new Airbus planes for the service to St. Petersburg. The company has an Airbus fleet of 22 planes.

We hope to reach a seat load factor of over 80 percent. The average seat load factor is 82.4 percent on all of our 44 routes, Engel said Monday by e-mail from Cologne.

Last summer Germanwings started regular flights three times a week from Moscow to Cologne, Bonn and Berlin. Since March 26 it starts flights between Moscow and Stuttgart. As for further expansion, the company is still considering its opportunities.

At the moment we are happy with Moscow and St. Petersburg. Further plans related to Russia will be discussed at end of this year, Engel said.

The first foreign budget carrier to start flights to Moscow was Germania Express selling one-way tickets from Moscow to Germany at around 120 euros.

However, thanks to active lobbying from national carriers authorities have set limits on discounts tickets for Germanwings flights from Moscow cost about $100, though flights from Germany to Moscow are available at 19 euros, all taxes and fees included. The same principle will apply for flights to and from St. Petersburg.

Maria Tarabarinova, sales manager at Sindbad Travel, suggested that the Germanwings service will be popular among passengers used to cheap tickets, like those flying to Dusseldorf with Pulkovo airline.

The new routes take advantage of increased demand due to the holding of the World Cup soccer tournament in Germany in June and July, Tarabarinova said.

Tarabarinova said that in a couple of years, after assessing their operations in St. Petersburg, Germanwings could start flying to Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk or Kazan.

Nevertheless, the $100 limit set by Russian authorities will prevent many budget airlines from establishing themselves in the country, Tarabarinova said.

Ryanair has been flying to Tampere, Finland, for a long time and is considering opening a second route, possibly in Lappenranta. This proves that the company is interested in the Russian market, she said.

In Europe low cost carriers serve about 10 million passengers a month. Some of them are subsidiaries of larger companies such as Go (British Airways) and Buzz (KLM).

Germanwings is a subsidiary of Eurowings, in which Lufhansa holds a stake.

Through our partner Germanwings we have a successful and active participation in the no frills sector, said Silvio Uhlfelder, regional manager of Lufthansa in St. Petersburg and the Northwest region of Russia.

No-frills airlines limit their service to the minimum and offer only point-to-point flights. In our opinion they will generate more air traffic, as people who up until now only traveled by bus or car might switch to planes, and with time are likely to develop the need to fly in more comfort, he said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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