[IMG=21160-6999] Starting from the middle of February 2007 Austrian Airlines will operate flights from Domodedovo instead of Sheremetievo. The official reason is the plan of the airline to extend the geography of flights on the Russian territory. The Airline will sign the code-share agreement with AiRUnion, which airlines operate flights to many Russian cities and is based in Domodedovo. Before Austrian Airlines had the similar agreement with Aeroflot.
Meanwhile, Elena Makagonova, Press Secretary of the Moscow Office of Austrian Airlines, commented as follows: ‘Co-operation with AirUnion will broaden the horizons for us. We would like to continue co-operation with Aeroflot, however it is not possible owing the change of airport’. Furthermore, Olga Bikova, PR-manager of AirUnion, pointed out that for them co-operation with Austrian Airlines suggests the possibility to work more actively with the European markets. Behind the scenes they say that there were other reasons for the airport change. According to unofficial information Austrian Airlines could not negotiate convenient slots with Sheremetevo.
Nevertheless, Russian travel market experts believe that the current situation will not affect the market. Thus, Boris Bogdanov, Director of Ascent Avia, said: ‘the airline will not adopt changes within the frequency of flights. Besides, Domodedovo as it is is not worse than Sheremetevo’. However, travel market experts divided opinion regarding the affect of the current changes on the regional markets: ‘if the new flights are more convenient for tourists from Russian regions, the product will become more attractive for them’, said Victoria Kizimova, Tourism Director of UTE Megapolus Group. Meanwhile, Mikhail Musiyants, General Director of Erzog Travel Company, disagreed: ‘on the threshold of the winter season ski tours are worth talking about. Therefore, tourists from Russian cities will have to fly to ski resorts with two changes that is evidently not interesting’.
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