With SSJ-100: Rossiya Airlines takes on Vladivostok-Shanghai

Sukhoi SSJ-100 (Photo: Panfily).
Sukhoi SSJ-100 (Photo: Panfily).

With SSJ-100: Rossiya Airlines takes on Vladivostok-Shanghai

Sukhoi SSJ-100 (Photo: Panfily).
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Rossiya Airlines, one of Russia's oldest airlines, has announced plans to immediately begin international flights between Vladivostok and Shanghai. This move comes at a time when the airline is having to restructure its international routes due to sanctions and geopolitical changes. The new route will be operated three times a week by Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100 aircraft and will take approximately three hours and 30 minutes.

Rossiya Airlines' decision to launch flights between Vladivostok and Shanghai is of strategic importance. The route was suspended following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resumption of flights signals not only a return to normality, but also a strengthening of economic and diplomatic ties between Russia and China. This development is encouraged by recent diplomatic rapprochements between the two countries.

The airline is competing directly with S7 Airlines, which has been offering twice-weekly flights on this route since April 2024. Interestingly, China's Juneyao Airlines had suspended its own flights between Shanghai and Vladivostok in early 2024 due to low ticket sales. This shows that competition on this route is intense and Rossiya Airlines has to assert itself in a challenging market environment.

Rossiya Airlines: An Overview

Rossiya Airlines will celebrate its 2024th anniversary in May 90 and looks back on a long and eventful history. The airline operates a fleet of 136 aircraft, which includes both Western and Russian models. These include Airbus A319, A320, Boeing 737-800, 737-900ER, 747-400, 777-300, 777-300ER and Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100. However, due to Western sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many Western aircraft in the fleet are inactive as spare parts are scarce.

The opening of the new route to Shanghai expands the airline's already extensive route network, which includes destinations such as Istanbul, Antalya, Dubai, Sharm el Sheikh, Colombo, Harbin as well as Havana and Varadero. This shows that despite the challenges, Rossiya Airlines is committed to expanding its international presence and opening up new markets.

Vladivostok Airport: A gateway to Asia

Vladivostok Airport, designed to accommodate all types of aircraft, plays a central role in regional and international aviation. With a passenger terminal designed to handle 3,5 million passengers per year and a route network covering 35 destinations, the airport is an important hub. Between January and April 2024, 763.000 passengers were handled, an increase of 18% compared to the same period in 2023. This illustrates the growth potential and increasing importance of the airport.

Market analysis and future prospects

The launch of the new international route to Shanghai could represent a lucrative opportunity for Rossiya Airlines, especially given the improved diplomatic relations between Russia and China. The three times weekly flights not only promote business travel, but also tourism between the two countries. The choice of the Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100 as the aircraft type also shows confidence in domestic production and technology, which is a strategic move given the current geopolitical tensions and sanctions.

However, it remains to be seen how competition with S7 Airlines and other potential competitors will develop. Market demand and economic conditions will determine whether Rossiya Airlines can successfully establish this route. In addition, the geopolitical situation, particularly Western sanctions, could continue to pose a challenge. The new route between Vladivostok and Shanghai marks an important step for Rossiya Airlines at a time of great uncertainty and change. By expanding its international route network, the airline is demonstrating its adaptability and willingness to grow despite adverse circumstances. This route could not only strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between Russia and China, but also open up new opportunities for business travelers and tourists.

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Editor of this article:

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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