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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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