S7 Airlines has launched “A319 Extra Edition” flights with increased premium seating capacity on its most popular business routes. The Russian carrier has refitted two of its Airbus A319s and is already selling A319 Extra Edition tickets on select routes.
The new A319 Extra Edition explained
After recognizing soaring demand for premium and business-class seating on certain flights, S7 executives came up with the new initiative. By reconfiguring two of its A319 aircraft, Extra Edition flights will offer just 96 seats. As well as being available on scheduled services, the Extra Edition can be booked for corporate requests. Grigory Davydov, chief strategist at S7, explained to FlightGlobal how A319 Extra Edition came about, saying,
“We’ve noticed high interest in special transport from the corporate sector. We would previously have had to take the aircraft out of the regular schedule, which often involves additional costs.”
Typically, A319s offer around 140 seats. Under the new configuration, there will be 96 seats overall with 24 available in business-class. The economy-class cabin will have 72 seats available with an improved pitch of 34in. These extra-spacious economy seats will cater to business travelers looking for extra comfort onboard.
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Which flights will be Extra Edition?
S7 Airlines is offering A319 Extra Edition flights as soon as 12th November. Presently, Extra Edition tickets can be purchased when flying from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod for as little as $76. According to FlightGlobal, the airline also plans to offer the Extra Edition experience on other business-heavy flights, including Moscow to Simferopol.
The airline has one refitted plane ready to begin operations already. The second Airbus plane will also see action soon, with the airline claiming it will be ready in the second half of November. As stated on the S7 website, A319 Extra Edition planes have a flight range of up to 5,000km and a cruising speed of 845 km/h.
Good news for S7
The latest announcement is good news for S7, which has been in the spotlight in recent months for the wrong reasons. The airline made the news worldwide after a suspected poisoning case led to an emergency landing when Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, fell ill onboard an S7 flight from Tomsk to Moscow.
In another headline-grabbing incident, an S7 flight had to circle around Magadan Airport after a bear wandered onto the runway. Fortunately, the crew spotted the bear during their final approach and avoided a collision by performing a go-around.
Despite a strong 2019 for Russian aviation, including 21% growth for S7 over the year, the carrier has inevitably suffered from the coronavirus crisis. However, Russian domestic aviation has remained relatively robust since the crisis, so S7 is likely to be in a more comfortable position than most airlines globally.
Do you see the Extra Edition model getting picked up by other airlines?