Northern Russia could again be connected with Norway as Nordavia draws a new route map from Murmansk.
Nordavia officials tell regional news portal B-Port that Oslo is on the list of consideration for new direct flights from Murmansk. If so, flights could start by the end of 2018.
In March this year, Nordavia will receive a new Boeing 737NG, the latest version of the world’s most sold medium-range twinjet.
There has never been a direct flight Murmansk-Oslo although the bilateral aviation agreement between the two countries opened for such option in 2006. Both SAS and Norwegian were considering the route. Norwegian directly from Oslo to Murmansk, while SAS planned for a stop-over in Tromsø.
After the giant Shtokman natural gas project was shelved in 2012, cross-border business developments declined and so did the potential number of passengers.
For some few years in the 90s, Braathens SAFE was flying with a Boeing 737 once a week between Tromsø and Murmansk with connection to Oslo.
In the period 1994 to 2014, Nordavia [under different names and licenses] operated the route Arkhangelsk to Tromsø via Murmansk. Both Nordavia and another smaller Russian airliner, Orenburzhye, have by several occasions in the last few years announced re-opening of the Murmansk to Tromsø route, so far without a single take-off.
Today, many passengers from the Murmansk region go to Kirkenes airport on the Norwegian side of the border when flying to Oslo. The airport is a 3-4 hours drive from Murmansk and has three daily direct flights to Oslo.
Additional to Oslo, Nordavia is studying options of flying charter from Murmansk directly to Beijing, B-Port writes. Next to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Murmansk ranks third place in popularity among Chinese tourists.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Cruise through Northwest Passage has set sail, Blog by Mia Bennett
Finland: Finland spotlights sacred fell, but Sámi omitted from celebration, YLE News
Iceland: NATO trains in anti-submarine warfare in northern waters, The Independent Barents Observer
Norway: Norway beefs up military presence in Finnmark, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Nine million border-crossings between Finland and Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden’s biggest military exercise in 20 years criticised, Radio Sweden
United States: Northwest Passage cruise marks turning point in Arctic tourism, Alaska Public Radio Network