Budget Airlines to Start Using St Petersburg Airport in 2020: Ministry

Pulkovo Airport in Russia’s second-biggest city, St Petersburg, expects to start cooperating with low-cost airline Ryanair and other budget carriers in 2020, the Russian Transport Ministry said, according to Reuters.

The move is part of Russia’s plan to boost tourist flows to St Petersburg and will mean more competition for Russian air carriers, including national flag carrier Aeroflot.

The announcement came a day after aviation authorities greenlighted a so-called “Open Skies” regime for the companies for five years, allowing airlines to fly to St Petersburg without requiring the traditional bilateral inter-governmental agreements.

The ministry said the initiative will “complement the activities of the airport with new routes and expand the geography of flights.”

The move follows the introduction of a special electronic visa system for tourists visiting St Petersburg which nationals from 53 countries can take advantage of.

The ministry said on Tuesday that Ryanair, EasyJet, WizzAir, Volotea, Air Baltic and Fly One had expressed interest in flights from St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, Russia’s fourth-largest after Moscow’s three major hubs.

It said the companies had applied for flights from Pulkovo, coded LED by the International Air Transport Association, to 22 countries, including Britain, Germany, and France.