Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Riga to Moscow Fare Watch

Moscow is one the busiest route from Riga airport, the traffic is strongly supported by the large Russian community in Latvia but also reflecting the booming tourism, business and transferring passenger numbers.

Up to summer 2010 Riga to Moscow market was served only by joint 3-daily Air Baltic and Aeroflot product to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport (SVO) but in August last year things got more diverse. UTair started their own daily flight from Vnukovo airport (VKO) using 50-seat CRJ200 and also offering connections to their vast domestic network. In November 2010 another Russian airline Transaero started twice weekly Boing 737-500 flights to Moscov’s Domodedovo (DME) airport followed by Air Baltic’s supplementary two weekly flights on that exact route. On the other hand – RIX-SVO airport pair is still the dominant as are the two flag-carriers – Air Baltic and Aeroflot.
Aeroflot, Transaero and UTair typically charge more for one-way tickets than for corresponding segment on return ticket. For this analysis one-way prices are determined as those available for return tickets though they can’t be booked without buying also Moscow-Riga flight.

As seen in the graph, all airlines have set their base levels around 90€ mark, but only Air Baltic and Aeroflot manage to sell tickets more expensive than 200€. In the examined 2-month period average ticket prices are as follows: Aeroflot - 157€, Air Baltic - 125€, Transaero - 117€, UTair - 109€. Note that Air Baltic is the only airline charging for luggage on this route. The prices for all airlines make peaks also for well-ahead dates suggesting that lots of travelers on the route are date-inflexible.
Last year I analyzed Riga-Oslo route in a similar manner. The Riga-Oslo and Riga-Moscow routes have several common features – they are comparable in passenger flow and offered capacity, booth served by four airlines and three airports (in Oslo or Moscow) and are almost the same in lenght. The overall average available fare for Riga-Oslo in two month period was 71€ (including credit card fee) while for Riga-Moscow it is 128€. The higher price for Riga-Moscow flights seems to be a result of governmental control yet factors like different costumer groups and seasonality may have played a role.

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