Director General of Ulan-Ude Airport Dmitry Garmaev expects to increase passenger traffic to 600,000 people in the first half of December. In the meantime, residents of Buryatia cannot wait for the opening of a direct flight to Thailand, which most likely will not take place in 2022.
As of October 10, 2022, Baikal Airport has already served more than half a million people. In 2021, such passenger traffic was achieved by the beginning of December, but the decrease in flights was associated with covid restrictions. Most passengers flew to domestic destinations: Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Khabarovsk.
The general director of the air harbor, Dmitry Garmaev, expects that by the first half of December, passenger traffic will grow by another 100,000 people. He is betting on the Mongolian direction: from November, the number of flights to Ulaanbaatar will increase to five per week. Demand for flights to Mongolia increased significantly in the second half of September. However, in general, in autumn and winter, passenger traffic traditionally decreases.
In addition, from the international airport “Baikal” now you can fly abroad only to Ulaanbaatar, the same flight to Thailand opens from November 2 only from Irkutsk. Currently, all covid restrictions on travel to Thailand have been lifted: neither certificates nor PCR tests are needed. However, tourists from Buryatia in the winter season 2022-2023 will be able to fly to Bangkok only via Irkutsk or Ulaanbaatar: the general director of the Baikal airport could not achieve the return of a direct flight from Ulan-Ude.
Perhaps Dmitry Garmaev could not convince the S7 airline that this destination would become popular: in Buryatia, the purchasing power of residents is much lower than in the Irkutsk region.
If you read Garmaev’s posts on social networks and watch his latest interviews, you will notice that there is no specific strategy for the development of the Baikal airport in his words. All records in passenger traffic are related to the measures taken by the federal government, which did a lot in this direction in 2022: the cashback for travel to the Far Eastern Federal District was doubled, and there are three programs to subsidize air travel in the amount of 27 million rubles.
The head of Buryatia had to fuss and convince the airlines to fly through Ulan-Ude (as was the case with the Ulan-Ude-Kyzyl flight), while the entrepreneurs did not take the arguments of the general director of the air harbor seriously. Businessmen do not have confidence directly in the leadership of the Baikal airport.