Ryanair poised to offer flights to Russia

Russian aviation regulator grants Michael O’Leary’s airline permission to fly

Ryanair is likely to commence flights between Ireland and Russia next autumn after it emerged that Russian aviation regulator has granted the airline permission to fly to destinations there.

The Irish airline signalled earlier this year it was in talks with airports in Russia, among other countries, about the possibility of opening services between that country and other European destinations.

Reports yesterday said that Sergei Isvolsky, a spokesman for Russia's federal transport agency, Rosaviatsia, had confirmed that the country will allow the airline to fly regular Dublin to Moscow and St Petersburg services.

Although Rosaviatsia has given the carrier permission to fly from March, it is thought it will be next autumn before Ryanair launches the services.


The company said it does not comment on speculation, but did confirm that it has had “exploratory” talks with a number of Russian airports.

“Ryanair is currently in discussion with over 100 European airports,” it said, adding that it always keeps the door open to new route options.

Russia is not part of the international Open Skies agreement that has opened up access to most European countries to Ryanair. Instead, the Republic and Russia have a bilateral agreement allowing flights between the two states.

The Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport confirmed that it has designated Ryanair to operate services under this agreement.

Rivals in Russia
A number of Ryanair's rivals already serve Russia, including Easyjet, which began services from Gatwick in London to Moscow Domodedovo last March and subsequently launched a service from Manchester to the Russian capital.

Russian airline Aeroflot has plans to launch its own low-cost carrier. A previous Russian budget airline venture, Avianova, failed in 2011 after one of its shareholders, Alfa Group, removed its management. If Ryanair wants to fly to Russia from other European countries, it will have to do separate deals with the authorities there.

The airline last week announced plans to add nine new routes and expand services from London Stansted.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas