On November 8, 2019, the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia, Rosaviatsia, published a list of newly awarded air traffic rights.
Included among those are numerous routes to Japan including a route that will utilize one of the two new daily slot pairs between Russia and Tokyo Haneda available to Russian airlines.
Newly Awarded Russia – Japan Air Traffic Rights
In the recently published list, Rosaviatsia awarded five airlines licenses for a total of eight airline-city pairs between Russia and Japan. Those include:
- Aeroflot: Moscow – Osaka (7 x week)
- Aurora: Khabarovsk – Tokyo Narita (7 x week)
- S7 Airlines: Vladivostok – Tokyo Haneda (7 x week)
- Ural Airlines: Vladivostok – Osaka (4 x week), Vladivostok – Tokyo Narita (7 x week), Yekaterinburg – Tokyo Narita (3 x week), Krasnoyarsk – Tokyo Narita (7 x week)
- Yakutia: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Tokyo Narita (2 x week)
Perhaps the most noteworthy of those is S7 Airlines’ right to operate flights to Tokyo Haneda which will allow the airline to move its Vladivostok flight from Narita.
The right was awarded as part of two newly available Tokyo Haneda daytime slot pairs for Russian airlines. The other slot pair will be used by Aeroflot to transfer its flight from Tokyo Narita to the more convenient Haneda as well.
Once S7 Airlines launches the new route, it will be the first and for now only airline to operate to Vladivostok from Haneda. That will give it an inherent advantage on what is – with the planned entry of ANA, JAL, and, perhaps, Ural Airlines – becoming a very competitive city pair.
In fact, I am wondering if the Tokyo – Vladivostok route will see enough demand to match next year’s increase in supply.
Aeroflot’s upcoming Moscow – Osaka Kansai route, on the other hand, will mark a resumption of service between the two cities for the first time in over 15 years. It will be the only non-stop connection between Osaka and Russia.
As for the other routes, if the airlines actually launch them:
- Aurora will be the second airline to operate between Khabarovsk and Tokyo Narita, S7 Airlines currently operates flights three times a week
- Ural Airlines will be the second airline to operate between Vladivostok and Osaka, S7 Airlines currently operates flights once a week
- Ural Airlines will be the only airline to operate between Yekaterinburg and Tokyo as well as Krasnoyarsk and Tokyo
- Yakutia will be the only airline to operate between Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Tokyo
The extent to which – and when – the airlines will launch their newly awarded routes is yet to be seen. However, it is good to see more connections between Japan and Russia being potentially launched on top of Aeroflot’s confirmed Moscow – Osaka flight.
In addition to the new (or restarted) routes, S7 Airlines’ move from Tokyo Narita to Haneda should be welcome by its passengers as well. Besides providing easier access to central Tokyo, it will also allow for easier domestic connections to and from the airline’s oneworld partner JAL.
All that said, I am wondering how sustainable an increase of supply between Tokyo and Vladivostok (as well as other smaller Russian cities) will be.