Japan’s JAL is looking to expand into the low-cost market, therefore it seems like a good time to take a look at Pobeda Airlines. Pobeda Airlines, Aeroflot’s low-cost subsidiary, operates out of Vnukovo International Airport, Moscow.
Pobeda’s first flight took off on December 1st 2014, and the airline is proud to mention that 7,000 tickets were sold within the first 12 hours. Since those first days, the airline has continuously grown, and went on to welcome its one millionth passenger after only seven months of operation. The airline then only took a further three months to reach two million passengers.
The airline currently has 20 Boeing 737-800 aircraft in its fleet and has ordered 4 more. The company also has a further 15 Boeing 737MAX8 aircraft on order. In fact, just yesterday the Russian State procurement department published information that it is looking for a new consultant to help facilitate the purchase of 30 more new Boeing 737MAX8 aircraft.
Along with these new aircraft orders, the airline is rapidly expanding its network. The airline’s network currently comprises of 57 destinations across 14 countries such as Germany and Spain. It has focus cities in Anapa, Saint Petersburg and Sochi. In October 2018 it will launch its first UK routes from London Stansted. Stansted is the home of one of the world’s largest airline by passenger numbers, Ryanair. Pobeda’s UK flights will fly to St Petersburg and Kaliningrad. Ryanair does not currently fly to Russia.
In a similar pricing model to Ryanair, Pobeda offers three pricing tiers:
- Standard: Includes the flight and a cabin bag.
- Plus: flight, cabin bag, 1 piece of checked luggage (20kg), and seat selection (not rows 1,2,15, or 16).
- Premium: Flight, cabin bag, 2 pieces of checked luggage (20kg & 10kg), and selection of any seat.
Also like Ryanair, customers are able to purchase a number of extras for their flight such as security fast track, priority boarding, and “XL seats” with extra legroom. However, unlike Ryanair, Pobeda offers a service called “Fly&Bus” where the connection between the airport and the city is included in the ticket. Currently, bus services connect Bratislava and Vienna, Bergamo and Milan, and Memmingen and Zurich/Munich.
According to the Pobeda website, their B737-800 aircraft have 158 seats, including 20 seats containing extra legroom. The airline does not offer onboard refreshment services. In addition, Pobeda doesn’t allow passengers to take hot drinks on board.
Trip Advisor community ratings put the airline at 3.5 out of 5, scoring highly on cleanliness and customer service. Customers complained in recent reviews about the overly zealous hand baggage restrictions which are tightly enforced. Pobeda is possibly enforcing this to cut down on fuel usage, as it is impossible to offer a 5-star service for such a low price.
Pobeda does a good job of connecting Russia both domestically and internationally despite the drawbacks of low-cost travel. The future looks bright for Pobeda. With new aircraft and new routes driving continued expansion, they look set to become a major player in the European low-cost market.