Aviation officials from Russia and Italy have agreed to expand air services as they seek to provide their respective designated airlines with improved planning flexibility.
The protocol signed in late May mandated that three destinations in each of the two countries will be added to the existing 12, and frequencies on most of the routes would be considerably augmented.
Russia provisionally chose Bari, Cagliari, and Olbia as the new destinations while Italy has yet to make a decision regarding theirs. In fact, both parties can also opt for a new destination to replace any of the existing ones with the exception of Rome, Milan, Venice, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.
The protocol also stated that either country’s designated carriers might service a total of 84 weekly flights on the Moscow-Rome and Moscow-Milan routes. On each of these routes, either country’s existing designated carrier is permitted to seven additional frequencies; seven more frequencies are to be operated by a newly assigned carrier.
On the remaining routes, the final number of flights to be operated by each country’s designated carriers has been increased to 147. For the Russian carriers, the additional frequencies include flights to Bari, Cagliari, and Olbia from any airports in Russia (up to seven weekly flights on each route).
Five more weekly flights are available for flights from Zhukovsky (a new airport outside Moscow) to Rome, and from St. Petersburg to Rimini. Two weekly frequencies are being added on the routes from Yekaterinburg to Rimini, Verona, Venice, and Bolognia.
The protocol denoted that the designated carriers are authorized to use any frequencies not used by their peers on the other side of the agreement.
The Russian officials also gave word to their their Italian counterparts that they were ready to allow any Italian carriers, both passenger and cargo operators, to fly to Sochi, Vladivostok, and Kaliningrad under the fifth freedom of the air, which entitles an airline to carry passengers or freight from one foreign country to another while flying from or to its own country.
The offer would become available this summer, with the only condition being that any Italian carriers that decide to use it do not fly trans-Siberian routes for such operations. The aforementioned three Russian airports are operating under the open skies regime.