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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.





 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.