January 11, 2018 / 4:24 PM / a year ago

Non-Russian airlines to operate internal charter flights for World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov waits before an annual state of the nation address attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Foreign airlines will be allowed to carry out a limited number of charter flights between Russian cities during the World Cup in June and July, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said on Thursday.

Currently, only large foreign air carriers are allowed to fly from outside Russia and into the country along the routes agreed with the ministry.

Sokolov said that foreign air carriers will perform intra-Russian flights to “ease peak traffic” only when domestic airlines are unable to carry passengers with a comparable price, at the same time and under the same terms to the same destinations.

He said between 3 million to 5 million fans will travel during the World Cup, which will be held in 11 host cities from Kaliningrad in the west to Ekaterinburg, 2,500km away in the east, and Sochi on the Black Sea.

Russian Railways plans to transport around 500,000 fans for free in 400 trains during the tournament.

Aeroflot will be the principal air carrier, which will take care of around 40 percent of all travelling fans expected to attend the 64 matches that will be staged during the June 14 to July 15 tournament.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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