Russian airline to re-establish Anchorage-Far East connection

PHOTO/Melissa Campbell/AJOC
Dalavia, a former Aeroflot airline based out of Khabarovsk, Russia, has announced a plan to offer a weekly flight on Sundays from Alaska to the Russian Far East, starting this summer.

“Flights will center around offering service to Petropavlosk from Anchorage,” said Olga Ipatova, with Dalavia. “Service will start on June 17.”

Dalavia will operate Tupolev aircraft to and from Alaska and the Russian Far East, and will offer connecting flights to Khabarovsk from Petropavlosk, where connection to destinations like Yuzno Sakhalinsk can be made.

According to Ipatova, seat fares will range from $1,040 for economy class to $2,340 for business class seating.

This is not the first time that Alaska has had connection to the Russian Far East. Alaska-based Reeve Aleutian Airways offered weekly flights to Petropavlosk up until it ceased operations seven years ago.

Mavial, also a Russian Far East carrier affiliated with Aeroflot, previously offered flights from Anchorage to Magadan. Aeroflot, Russia’s nationalized airline, once flew from Magadan via Anchorage to San Francisco until airways were opened under bilateral agreements with the United States that allowed Aeroflot to fly direct over the Pacific to California.

In the fall of 2004 hope once again surfaced when Russia Jet Direct offered service from Houston to Anchorage and on to Sakhalin. This effort failed when Russia Jet Direct’s leased jets were re-directed to the Middle East for U.S. military troop transport.

In the 1990s Alaska Airlines offered service to the Russian Far East, but discontinued when fuel, ground services and weather information became sketchy.

Dalavia emerges on the hope of more traffic between Alaska and Russia as oil exploration increases on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

“This should be a profitable venture for Dalavia,” said Michael Evans, director of marketing and sales for FESCO, a major marine carrier based in Seattle with contracts in the Russian Far East. “Oil exploration on the Kamchatka Peninsula should bolster their business.”

Dalavia will fly a direct route from Petropavlosk using a TU-214, a Russian-built medium-range, twin-engine aircraft.

The Dalavia TU-214 aircraft features a cabin layout for passengers with 156 seats, including 12 business class seats.

The TU-214 is considered one of the most efficient aircraft in its class and has been certified to conform to all Western standards.

Dalavia will offer tickets from its office at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport starting the end of March.

Rob Stapleton can be reached at [email protected].

03/10/2007 - 8:00pm