easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, has today announced it plans to launch the first ever scheduled flights between Manchester and Moscow in Spring 2013. easyJet will operate four flights each way a week and plans to put flights on sale in the coming weeks.
The move follows the news last month that easyJet would launch five new routes by basing a seventh aircraft at Manchester. The eighth aircraft, which will be based at the airport from March 2013, will create a further 80 cabin crew, pilot and ground handling jobs in Manchester taking the total number of new jobs from both new aircraft to 160 with a combined total of around 500 indirect jobs resulting from the expansion.
Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, commented: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the first ever scheduled services between Manchester and Moscow. These new services exactly fit easyJet’s ‘join the dots’ strategy which is to add flights to destinations from multiple bases across Europe providing passengers with convenient point to point services.
“Russia has a fast growing economy and is a country rich in culture and history – so a direct link from the North of England has been long overdue. With our strong European network we look forward to connecting Moscow with other European cities.
“We are also pleased to be able to announce further expansion from Manchester with the arrival of another aircraft in March 2013. This is great news for the regional economy creating much-needed jobs in the city.
“Moscow and Prague will appeal to business and leisure travellers alike with Thessaloniki promising to be a popular choice for holidaymakers from the region. We look forward to welcoming passengers onboard our new services in Spring next year.”
Ken O’Toole, Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG), said: “This is a significant announcement for easyJet and we are pleased that they have chosen to fly from Manchester Airport to Moscow. This route will allow passengers to fly direct from the North West and not have to use London for travel to Russia.
“The basing of an additional aircraft and the inclusion of Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, is also welcome as are more services to the Czech Republic through Prague. easyJet will serve 32 routes from Manchester next Summer and we look forward to working with them on the continued growth.”
The four hour flights will operate four times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays using an Airbus A320 with 180 seats onboard. easyJet announced it had won the rights to operate flights between London Gatwick and Moscow in October. Manchester will become the only airport in the UK outside of London offering Moscow services. The airline expects to fly over 60,000 passengers in its first year of service between Manchester and Moscow.
The additional aircraft at Manchester will also enable easyJet to launch new routes to the Czech Republic capital city of Prague and Thessaloniki as well as add more frequencies to popular destinations like Paphos and Santorini.
The airline will offer three services a week to Prague on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays along with twice weekly services to the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Mondays and Fridays. Earlier this month easyJet celebrated its landmark five millionth passenger at Manchester Airport and introduced a twice weekly flight to Tel Aviv.
Yesterday the airline was awarded the rights to fly between Manchester Airport and Moscow Domodedovo by the CAA. easyJet currently flies to 29 destinations from Manchester rising to 32 with the additional new aircraft next year.