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Regional carriage must be accessible in terms of price and technical characteristics

The Ministry of Transport , proceeding from the updated Transport Strategy, has set the following goals for development of regional air carriage: ensuring accessibility; increasing the number of air passengers; providing conditions for enhanced business activities. This was revealed by Deputy Minister of Transport Valery Okulov during the сonference on the Development of the Regional Carriage Market in the Russian Federation held as part of the Transport of Russia IV International Forum.

The conference discussed topical issues of subsidies, affordable tariffs and regional carriage development in general, using the example of Yakutia, one of the remotest regions in the country for which a stable and well-developed system of carriage is vital.

The Minister of Transport and Road Management of Yakutia, Semyon Vinokurov, stressed that regional air transport must be accessible physically and affordable in terms of price. He emphasised that regional aviation was the only kind of transport available to 15 million people in 28,000 communities on 60% of the Republic’s territory.

At present, development of regional aviation is held back by high prices, coupled with low incomes, and obsolete and inefficient aircraft. That accounts for the small number of people who fly, the rate being 0.3 flights per person per year (compared to 0.4 in Russia and 2.5 in the USA).
To turn the situation around, since 2002 the Republic has been implementing a programme for subsidising vital internal carriage out of the republican budget. The Republic has 137 air routes in 23 of its regions. Over the years, the amount of subsidised passenger carriage has increased from 9,000 in 2002 to over 23,000 in 2011 and now accounts for half of all the internal air carriage. In 2012, the republican budget earmarked 146.8 million roubles for the purpose.

Semyon Vinokurov also noted that, in 2012, subsidised tariffs in vital areas amounted to between 640 roubles and 9,163 roubles, depending on distance. The passengers pay an average of 27% of the fare, with 70% of the tariff being subsidised out of the Republican budget.

In accordance with the Russian Government’s decision to subsidise air travel from the Far East to European Russia and back, about 170,000 passengers aged under 23 and over 60 availed themselves of this benefit during 2009-2012 (the total subsidy amounts to 307.4 million roubles).

Valery Okulov reported that the Russian Government had approved a 5 billion rouble air travel subsidy programme up to 2020.

Over the next four years, the federal budget will allocate 750 million roubles every year,, 450 million roubles of this going to subsidise air travel in the Far Eastern, Siberian, North Western and Urals Federal Districts. The price of an air ticket will be subsidised to the tune of 35% and, beginning from next year, the subsidies will be available to all categories of passenger.   

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