October 30, 2014
EU sanctions fail to dampen Aeroflot’s enthusiasm to launch a new low cost airline, aptly named Probeda
Clearly Aeroflot have no intention of allowing political pressure from the EU to affect the company’s plans to add a new low-cost string to its bow, which it has today officially, and perhaps appropriately, named Probeda, which in Russian means ‘victory’. It was only back in August Aeroflot pulled the plug on their newly created low-cost airline, Dobrolet, as a direct consequence of sanctions placed on them by the EU. At the time Dobrolet had two planes and were looking to expand to eight by the end of the year. Sanctions came about as a result of Russia’s actions towards the Ukraine and the Crimea Peninula, actions which were exacerbated by the fact that one of the main routes of Dobrolet was from Moscow to Simferopol, the capital of the Crimea.
In view of these sanctions a number of Russian airlines have been anxious regarding further potential penalties, but none have occurred. As a result, assets have been continually transferred by Aeroflot from the defunct Dobrolet to what, until his week, was known simply as Byudzhetny Perevozchik, meaning ‘Budget Carrier’. The announcement on the 16th October of the new and alternate routes for the proposed low-cost carrier from Moscow to Surgut, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Samara, Kazan, Volgograd, Belgorod and Tyumen has not raised eyebrows the same way the routes for Dobrolet did, and the new airline will be operating a Boeing 737-800 in a single-class layout, though its first flight date has yet to be announced. This is the fourth attempt for Russia to create a low-cost airline, with the first two companies working on the model – Sky Express and Avianova – going bankrupt in 2011, although this was for economic reasons as opposed to sanctions which have seen the failure of Dobrolet.