Aeroflot’s low-cost carrier Dobrolet will start performing flights in spring 2014. Originally, it was the name of the joint-stock company established in 1923, a predecessor of today's Aeroflot. Vladimir Gorbunov was appointed CEO of the new airline, the carrier’s representatives told journalists during presentation of the airline.
Dobrolet will be based in Moscow region. The new carrier will operate Boeing 737-800NG jets featuring a single-class layout. Initially Dobrolet will be performing flights on 8 most popular routes in European part of Russia (St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Ufa, Noviy Urengoy, Makhachkala). The carrier’s route network will comprise 19 destinations by 2015 and 26 ones – by 2016 (including Kiev, Istanbul and Yerevan). “Initially the capacity of our jets will be 170 seats, but we hope for removal of duties against aircraft – after that we will be able to increase the capacity to 189 seats”, - CEO of Aeroflot, Vitaly Savelyev, said.
He also noted that Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft may join the carrier’s fleet in future. “This vehicle has been struggling so far and dealing with teething problems, but it gets better every month and its operation becoming more stable. I leave open the possibility of adding SSJ 100s to the Dobrolet’s fleet, but today we need an aircraft capable of flying for 12-14 hours, like Boeing or Airbus”, - Vitaly Savelyev noted.
“The reduction of fares by up to 40 % as compared to the "traditional" carriers will be achieved in several ways. Among them are: the increase of aircraft capacity by means of reducing the seat pitch and using fixed backrests; only direct ticket sales; implementation of an additional payment for a comfort seat; checked baggage; paid priority boarding and in-flight meals; a possibility of booking and selling additional services online (at the company's web site)”, - he explained.
Aeroflot’s percentage ownership in the new company is 100%. Estimated investments in the project will be about $100 million over the first two years. During the first year the airline will operate 8 aircraft. After that the fleet will be expanding (it is planned to purchase around 8 aircraft per year). Thus the carrier’s fleet will comprise about 40 airliners by the fifth year of its work and its passenger traffic should reach 10 million passengers per year. According to Vitaly Savelyev, the airline should reach break-even point in two years and after 3 or 4 years the Dobrolet’s capitalization should reach $1.4 billion. He also noted that the airline will replace its airliners after 5 or 7 years of operation.
"A low-cost carrier will not fly in Russia unless we harmonize our legislation with the existing norms of the global industry, such as non-refundable tickets, paid in-flight meals, paid baggage transportation, the possibility of hiring pilots being residents of foreign countries (in order to reduce the shortage of aircraft captains)" – Vitaly Savelyev added. - We expect that the corresponding legislative decisions will be taken in 2013. Thus the state will help us launch the project, which is of great importance for Russia".
“As for deploying the carrier in Moscow region, we are negotiating with Domodedovo airport. We believe that Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airport will not meet our requirements related to this project”, - Savelyev said.
CEO of Dobrolet, Vladimir Gorbunov, said that at present legal entity for Dobrolet has been registered. However, the airline does not have an Air Operator Certificate.