Rossiya Airlines will carry the teams participating in the 2017 Confederations Cup, St. Petersburg Vice Governor Igor Albin said and sources familiar with the agreement confirmed. The representative of the airline did not confirm or deny this information.
Russia will become a partner of Qatar Airways, the official air carrier of the International Football Federation (FIFA). Qatar Airways signed a major sponsorship deal with FIFA in 2017, which runs until 2022, according to the FIFA website. This is one of the largest sports sponsorship packages in the world: the airline is a sponsor of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. (will take place in Qatar). As part of the package, the carrier receives extensive marketing and branding rights at both World Cup soccer championships, with an estimated audience of more than 2 billion people at each tournament. The cost of the contract was not disclosed. Official comments from FIFA and Qatar Airways have not yet been received.
Qatar Airways does not fly to cities that participate in the cup, so they had to choose a carrier in Russia, says a source in the aviation industry, adding that the company was chosen, among other things, due to the ability to provide the required number of aircraft during the high season. “Russia” will not be able to use the symbols of the Confederations Cup, as it is not an official carrier, says another source familiar with the plans to transport the participating teams. Flights will begin on June 15, the first will pass from Vnukovo to Pulkovo, the next – from Pulkovo to Vnukovo – will take place on June 17. In total, from one to four flights a day will be carried out, while the schedule is known until June 23, until that date there are no foreign flights in it, says the source of Vedomosti.
The airline will operate more than 30 flights under the contract. Aircraft Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 will be used. The flights will carry extra baggage, special meals and a well-trained crew capable of transporting foreign sports teams will be on board.
Since 2014, Rossiya has been the official carrier and partner of the Zenit club: the airline provides flights for players and club employees in Russia and abroad. Rossiya is part of the Aeroflot group. Aeroflot itself is the official carrier of FC CSKA, and since 2013 – the English Manchester United. In three months of 2017, Rossiya transported 1.986 million passengers (+ 27%) and became the second in terms of this indicator in the country after Aeroflot (7 million people). In 2016, the airline carried 8.8 million people. Rossiya Airlines is the base carrier Pulkovo.
Renting Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 737-800 planes with a team on the Moscow – Petersburg flight can cost about 1.5 million rubles, on the Petersburg – Sochi flight – twice as much, says a top manager of a large air carrier. The price could be lower, since participation in such large-scale events has a positive effect on the company’s image, even if it does not become an official partner, says the source of Vedomosti.
Benefit for Rossiya Airlines under this contract may lie in the image promotion of the brand and guaranteed loading of its aircraft during the Confederations Cup, says one of the aviation market experts.