Krasnodar-based Kuban Airlines (GW) carried nearly 900,000 passengers in 2011, up 35% over the previous year. International traffic grew 82% to 239,000 passengers. On domestic routes, GW carried more than 660,000 passengers, up 23.5% year-over-year. Load factor grew 17.8 percentage points to 72%. In 2011, GW operated more than 5,500 flights, up 7.5% over 2010.
In a statement, GW credited the growth with the opening of new routes. In 2011, the carrier launched routes from Moscow to Chelyabinsk (CEK), Vladikavkaz (OGZ) and Makhachkala (MCX). Also, the airline took over routes after several Russian carriers left the market, such as Sky Express (XW) Moscow–CEK service.
In 2012, GW plans to develop its regional network from Krasnodar and Sochi in the South of Russia. The carrier is considering leasing several aircraft up to 70 seats, possibly the ATR 42 or CRJ200, according to GW spokesman Vitaly Korenyugin. GW is negotiating with several aircraft owners to acquire three aircraft before summer.
GW’s fleet comprises seven Boeing 737s, three Airbus A319s and five Yak-42s. The carrier is planning to place a firm order for 12 Sukhoi Superjet 100s in 2012.
Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) and GW have reached an agreement after the airport threatened to suspend GW flights in December because the of carrier’s debt to the airport (ATW Daily News, Dec. 23). Details of the agreement have not been announced.