KIEV, 12 November (BelTA) – Belavia's passenger traffic has doubled since 25 October when Russia and Ukraine suspended direct flights between the countries, BelTA learned from Igor Cherginets, Deputy Director General for Marketing and Foreign Economic Affairs at OAO Belavia airline.
"The passenger traffic has increased. The increase is quite a big one. I do not have the exact numbers but it definitely surged twice or even a little more,” he said. According to him, Belavia now carries about 500 people per day on the Minsk-Kiev route. For ten days, the numbers made up about 5,000 correspondingly. Previously, Belavia carried such a number of passengers on the Minsk-Kiev route per month, Igor Cherginets noted.
The increase in the passenger traffic, according to Igor Cherginets, was achieved due to the growth in the number of transit passengers from Ukraine to Russia and from Russia to Ukraine via Minsk. "Take this morning's Minsk-Kiev flight: we see transit passengers to Russia's Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kaliningrad but also to Astana and Vienna," Igor Cherginets said
Igor Cherginets also noted that passengers from Ashgabat and Tashkent actively use Belavia's services too. They fly to Minsk and then to Kiev. This, he explained, has to do with the fact that Ukraine's flights to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were grounded. "Most of people in these countries started flying via our capital city. In addition, we have a good percentage of transit passengers from Kazakhstan,” said Igor Cherginets.
As was reported, Ukraine banned incoming flights by Russian airlines, and also banned, partially or completely, transit flights by Russian air carriers across the country. Russia responded by closing its airspace to Ukrainian airlines starting from 25 October.
According to Vladimir Kostin, Director of Aviation Department at the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus, the mutual ban of flights introduced by Ukraine and Russia on 25 October will not lead to the redistribution and cancelation of flights in Belarus. “It will not trigger redistribution of flights or their cancelation. We also does not expect the passenger flow we will not be able to deal with,” the head of the department said.
According to the director of the department, the passenger terminal of Minsk National Airport was reconstructed ahead of the IIHF World Championship. Now, its pass-through capacity makes up 5.8 million passengers a year. “As for today we have not reached the mark of three millions. Therefore, the increase we expect due to a possible passenger traffic from Kiev to Moscow and vice versa will be 5-8% maximum,” Vladimir Kostin added.
Belavia is the largest air carrier in Belarus by the number of passengers and cargoes it transports. In January 2014 the Belarusian airline acquired a legal status of an open joint stock company. Belavia operates 27 aircraft, and offers regulars flights to 46 destinations in Europe and Asia. Belavia joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 1997 and the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) in 2010. In January-September 2015 Belavia's passenger traffic increased by 4% over the same period last year.