I like to stay up-to-date on airlines from all over the world, but admit Europe’s fastest growing airline took me by surprise. In fact, I had never even heard of it.
I’m talking about Pobeda, a low-cost subsidiary of Aeroflot based in Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. The budget carrier was founded in 2014 and has now been flying for nearly five years.
Pobeda currently has a fleet of 30 737-800 aircraft in a single cabin configuration with 189 seats. Not only does it serve many domestic destinations within the Russian Federation, it also serves cities in:
- Czech Republic
- United Arab Emirates
In total, it serves 78 destinations and is now the 29th largest carrier in Europe.
This winter, while many airlines pare back their schedules, Pobeda will grow by 34.3%. That’s way more than WizzAir, its closest competitor who will grow 23.5% this winter. Paren5 company Aeroflot will trim its schedule by 3%.
Pobeda has 737MAX aircraft on order, but troubles with that aircraft will not slow down its growth plans. Instead, Rossiya Airlines, also part of the Aeroflot group, will transfer additional 737-800s to Pobeda.
An Overnight 40% Fare Increase
There may be a problem for Pobeda, though. Pobeda styles itself after Ryanair. Fares are dirt cheap, but you’ll pay for everything. A Russian court just ruled this week that Pobeda cannot charge for airport check-in. Currently, you can check in “for free” at an airport counter in Russia, but in Europe you will be charged if you avoid online check-in.
With Pobeda no longer able to charge for check-in, it has announced that it will add a flat 25EUR to ticket prices by the end of the month. Based upon historic fares, that represents a 40% increase in average ticket price.
For an airline that I’ve never heard of it prior to today, I’m surprised at how large it has grown and plans to grow. Time will tell if the fare increase planned for later this month will hurt those rapid growth plans.
Have you flown Pobeda?