Ryanair has been granted permission to fly to destinations in Russia from March next year by the country’s aviation authority.
The Federal Air Transport Agency, known as Rosaviatsia, will allow the airline to start regular flights on routes from Dublin to Moscow and St Petersburg, spokesman Sergei Isvolsky said today.
Ryanair is in “exploratory” talks with a number of airports as potential destinations, according to the Dublin-based carrier’s spokesman Robin Kiely.
“Ryanair has had discussions with a number of Russian airports, but they are purely exploratory at this time,” Kiely said in an e-mailed statement to the Bloomberg news service.
Shares in Ryanair rose by 2.1% in Dublin trade today.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last year backed plans for low-cost flights, which will require legal changes to permit non-refundable tickets, charging for meals and the hiring of foreign pilots.
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, plans to establish a discount unit of its own at a cost of $100m after specialist no-frills operators EasyJet and Wizz Air targeted its home market.
Ryanair's chief executive Michael O’Leary said in September the airline was looking at new routes in North Africa, Israel and Russia.
Ryanair operates more than 1,600 daily flights, connecting 180 destinations in 29 countries.
EasyJet, Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier after Ryanair, began flights from London Gatwick airport to Moscow Domodedovo on March 18 and began serving the Russian capital from Manchester some days later.
Wizz Air Ltd, a low-cost airline based in Hungary, added flights to Moscow Vnukovo airport on September 23.