Aeroflot, the Russian state-controlled airline, is to launch a direct daily flight from Moscow to Dublin from October in a move which is hoped will greatly boost trade and tourism between the two countries.
The first flight SU2590 will fly on October 28. Departure time from Sheremetyevo airport 19.20, arrival in Dublin 20.45, from Dublin the plane will leave at 21.45 and return to Moscow the next morning at 4.50 am.
Tickets are already on sale on Aeroflot’s website starting at €127.69 one-way for an economy saver rate, which includes a meal and a drink. Business-class tickets start from €654 one-way.
The aircraft will be supplied by GTLK Europe, the Kremlin’s Dublin-based leasing arm, which has a portfolio of $1.5 billion in assets based out of Ireland. GTLK, which has raised $1 billion in financing in Ireland over the past two years, says Aeroflot is already its biggest client.
An Aeroflot source rejected rumours that the airline needs an Irish stopover as a hedge against potential US sanctions. The company’s shares plunged 12 per cent on Thursday after the US state department threatened sanctions that could ground all of its flights to the US.
Aeroflot, which says its classic Soviet emblem of a winged hammer and sickle now represents a smile, has undergone a transformation in recent years and has won several top industry awards for its service.
Aeroflot previously used Shannon as stopover to the United States and the goal in Government circles is that an Irish airport can once again become a Russian aviation hub.
In 1978, Aer Rianta approached Aeroflot with a proposal to store Soviet aviation fuel at Shannon for use on the Soviet airline’s transatlantic services.
By the early 1980s, more than 1,000 Aeroflot flights a year were clocked through Shannon as the Russian carrier routed other transit flights via Ireland.
Aer Rianta’s co-operation with Aeroflot led to the opening of a string of duty-free shops in airports in Moscow and St Petersburg.
The refuelling at Shannon ended after Aeroflot acquired longer-range aircraft, while the 1998 rouble crash and default by the Russian government forced most of the Irish community to abandon Moscow.Tags: Аэрофлот, Наша Газета, Россия, США