[IMG=20339-6103]By the middle of the season a range of changes within charter programs to Norway was adopted. Thus, DSBW terminated its flights to Bergen – Oslo from Ekaterinburg and Samara (news/27/03). ‘Regional markets are not ready for ‘non-beach’ tourism’, explained the decision Irina Polenova, Senior Manager of the Norway Department of DSBW. Besides, the tour operator plan to reduce a number of Moscow – Bergen – Oslo flights at the end of July from four to two.
Furthermore, Jazz Tour decided to postpone Moscow – Tromso flights, the launch is put off until the New Year period, said Alexander Evforitsky, General Manager of the company. Meanwhile, travel market experts emphasize the reduction of air traffic volume was not provoked by drop in demand for Norway, that is in fact higher than a year ago. Experts explain the July tendency by the outflow of Russian tourists to Alesund and the neighboring Fiords that resulted into lower demand for charter flights to other Norwegian regions.
Simultaneously, low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle is negotiating a launch of Moscow-Oslo flight with the Russian aviation authorities (news/ 23.03 and 23.05). According to reliable information, the airline plans to operate flights starting from July 2006. However, the Norwegian Air Shuttle do not rush into announcing its plans. ‘By now we have not received an official permission, therefore, it is too early to comment on dates, program and prices’, said Anne Grete Ellingsen, a representative of Norwegian Air Shuttle.
On the one hand at the moment a direct flight from Moscow to Oslo is operated only by Aeroflot with its prices being set at around 450 Euro. Meanwhile, rates offered by the Norwegian will apparently be closer to prices for St. Petersburg – Oslo - St. Petersburg flight – around 200 Euro – that, according to experts, will stimulate the tourist flow to the destination. Thus, Olga Filippenko, Tourism Development Director of the Tourism Committee of the Norwegian Embassy, commented: ‘for operators who buy blocks of seats in advance rates will be even lower’. On the other hand, some travel market players doubt the success of cooperation with the Norwegian low-cost. Some of them explain their skepticism by the fact that the Norwegian is aimed at the end customers and it will be difficult for the airline to work through an agent. Others doubt the profitability of business with the Norwegian. ‘Every business step should be economically proved. It is better to sell tours at more expensive prices, thus, providing their profitability’, said Alexander Evforitsky. There is one more nuance: if the Norwegian low-cost launches a flight from Moscow it will compete with the present DSBW flights to Oslo.
However, appearance of the new player is still disputable but flight programs are supposed to be planned now. The same situation is in St. Petersburg – the Norwegian discounter announced its plans when summer programs of tour operators were prepared.
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