Transaero Airlines 777-200. By Rob Finlayson

Transaero Airlines (UN) will transfer part of its flights from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Vnukovo (VKO) because DME cannot keep up with the carrier’s rapid expansion, CEO Olga Pleshakova said.

Pleshakova and VKO board chairman Vitaly Vancev on Tuesday are expected to sign a memorandum of strategic partnership detailing the cooperation. The 10-year agreement will see UN eventually handle up to 2 million passengers annually at the airport. UN’s route network from VKO is under discussion. Operations are expected to start in May.  

“Domodedovo’s development rates are slower that Transaero’s and they restrain our own expansion especially of our Boeing 777 and 747 operations,” Pleshakova said. “DME remains our main base.”  UN also operates from Sheremetyevo and will fly from three airports in Moscow. 

She said VKO has a “new state-of-the-art terminal with a large capacity and management is forthcoming in meeting our needs, in terms of airline operations and providing the ground service for our passengers.”

UN confirmed to ATW that VKO is providing the carrier with “very good” financial terms for the cooperation and the airport is “even willing to accommodate the 747-8 and Airbus A380 when they will be delivered to us (ATW Daily News, Nov. 9, 2011).  In addition, Vnukovo is also ready to allow us to do our own A checks and other maintenance on our 777s and 747s so that we won’t need to fly to the city of Ulyanovsk for MRO on these aircraft like we do now.”

Pleshakova admitted that “operating from three Moscow airports means additional costs for us, but we have a deep expertise in performing flights from different airports. “ UN also operates from Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg and from another nine regional airports in Russia.