FlyRuss welcomes everyone to our brand new Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) hub! Our new Vnukovo hub builds a new Russian gateway. Together with our three other Moscow hubs it solidifies our already strong position. Vnukovo has been a focus city for long with about 20 daily flights to St. Petersburg but now we have upgraded to almost 100 daily flights to 30 destinations. It is with great pride to announce this new and exiting Russian hub. At this moment 25 A220s have been stationed at Vnukovo together with over 1000 staff members who will serve these planes. Vnukovo will in the coming weeks get 10 A220-300s and 50 CRJ700s as well.
The General Manager of Belarus Airlines, Anastasia Saroka, has been assigned to set up and lead our new Vnukovo base. Anastasia has worked for FlyRuss since the beginning. She started as a secretary for Svetlana Valentinovska who at the time was the head of Sheremetyevo operations for FlyRuss. She followed Svetlana to Moscovia and was there promoted to set up and lead Belarus Airlines. Through her passion and ambition, Anastasia did a wonderful job at Belarus Airlines having set up a true flag carrier for Belarus, flying 20,000 passengers every week with incredible reviews. Therefore our CEO decided that Anastasia is the right person to lead our Vnukovo venture and he does not doubt for a second that it will be an incredible success. Denis Barazna will be the new General Manager of Belarus Airlines. He has previously worked for United Russian Airways and was absorbed into the ATON family with our merger. Afterwards he worked as head of the Rostov base for FlyRuss/Belarus Airlines. Svetlana Valentinovska is currently the General Manager of FlyRuss and head of all Russian operations for the ATON Family. She is the CEO’s right hand.
With the great fleet replacement now fully complete we have kicked our expansion into high gear. FlyRuss has greatly expanded at VKO, KRR, SVX and SVO and more expansion is on the horizon. Our last 737-8s have just been withdrawn and replaced by A320NEOs and A321NEOs.
With a maintenance category freed we have decided to add Canadair Regional Jets (CRJs) to our mainline fleet. It has been a hard decision to make to fly smaller regional jets in our main line fleet but it is a necessary one. Amurair already operates 50 CRJs and they are very beloved by passengers and crew alike. FlyRuss needs these aircraft to complement our A220 fleet in Siberia, around low demand flying at our other hubs and as dedicated express aircraft. While both Amurair and Moscovia operate very destinct operations only at an exclusive hub we need regional jet flying to complement the FlyRuss operation. It would have been an networking nightmare to have a separate carrier operating regional jets intertwined with our mainline flights. Therefore, we have chosen to add them directly to the mainline and operate them side by side with our mainline fleet. Initially we have ordered 100 CRJ700 NextGen and we will take on a further 50 CRJ1000 NextGen. These will allow us to touch a route category which we have previously been weak at which is direct flights between destinations outside of hubs. By flying smaller aircraft catering to direct passengers on routes such as TJM-GOJ or IKT-BAX we will be able to relive congestion on our massively congested hubs such as DME. In the end it’s a win-win for all.
To crew this expansion we will need about 5000 new cabin crew and 2000 new pilots. While we are also retraining the last of our 737 crews to new aircraft. As we are expanding on all fronts we have allowed all 737 crews to freely choose to what category they want to be retrained. The majority have choose to stay in a similar role on the A320 while a couple have chosen the 787 and A220. We carry out global recruitment and have recruitment opportunities on all continents to build our truly global crew.