Nordavia launches the first direct flight between the Russian north and the Norwegian capital.
A 132-seats Boeing 737 will fly the route once a week starting from June 4th. The flight is included in the summer schedule for Nordavia and last until October 21st.
«If passengers show interest for the route, we will increase the number of weekly flights and extend them after October 21st,» says Viktor Anoshkin, Corporate Communication Director with Nordavia in an e-mail to the Barents Observer.
He says tariffs for tickets will be announced soon.
First ever direct link
The route will be the first time with a direct flight Murmansk-Oslo. Already in 2006, the bilateral aviation agreement between Norway and Russia opened for such route.
At the time, 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. Additionally, a similar route existed from northern Russia to Rovaniemi in Finland and Luleå in Sweden.
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.
No plans for Tromsø
Viktor Anoshkin says there are no immediate plans to open routes to Tromsø or any other destinations in Scandinavia.
«There are no such plans at this moment, but we look at the market and demand for flights.»
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.
Nordavia is one of the largest airlines operating routes in northern Russia. Last year, a plans to merge Nordavia with Redwings was announced.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Nunavut gears up for increase in Arctic tourism, Radio Canada International
Finland: Helsinki Airport “best in northern Europe”, YLE News
Iceland: High peak in low season, Iceland’s mass-tourism boiling over, The Independent Barents Observer
Norway: Tourist boom raises hope for Scandinavia’s northernmost cross-border flights, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: More protected lands on Nenets tundra in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Millions more flights from Swedish airports despite environmental toll, YLE News
United States: Northwest Passage cruise marks turning point in Arctic tourism, Alaska Public Radio Network