Putin fears that planes will stop flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the construction of the St. Petersburg-Moscow high-speed passenger highway will make unclaimed air travel on this route. “Now in Moscow it only takes 1.5 hours to get to the airport. That is why aviation on this shoulder becomes meaningless, ”he said on December 23 during the final press conference. In this regard, the head of state said that this issue needs to be studied.
“We need to weigh everything, think, see how high-speed highways are developing in other countries,” he said. – Until recently, they were all unprofitable, even for China, given that it is a country with a population of one and a half billion. For our country, this is important and in demand at certain distances – somewhere aviation is starting to work more efficiently. This is still being studied at the expert level ”(quotes from Interfax).
The Moscow-Petersburg route is really considered to be one of the most profitable for Russian airlines.
In 11 months of 2021, St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport received 3.9 million people from Moscow, which is 55% more than in 2020 and 16% less than in 2019. For “Cavid” 2020 year “Pulkovo” served 2,500,000 passengers from Moscow, in 2019 – 4.7 million people, told “Vedomosti” a representative of the airport. The total passenger traffic of “Pulkovo” in January-November this year amounted to 16.7 million passengers, ie, Moscow passengers account for a significant 23.4%.
Putin also admitted that if the Moscow-Petersburg SCM is built, one of the intermediate stops of the train could be Novgorod. Now the railway between the two cities runs away from Novgorod.
The cost of the project, depending on the method of financing was estimated at 14-17 billion rubles. Due to the construction of the SCM it was supposed to reduce the travel time between the capitals to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Construction was scheduled to be completed in 2027.
According to the president of the national center “Transport and Infrastructure” Pavel Ivankin, rail and air transport compete for the passenger in many directions. Moscow – St. Petersburg – the most expensive destination. And VSM, according to him, will naturally attract part of the passenger traffic. “The ESG agenda is also in favor of the SCM. Airlines will lose expensive passenger traffic, that’s natural. But I would not talk about the complete closure of air services. The final choice, of course, is up to the state, ”the expert stressed.
Mikhail Burmistrov, CEO of Infoline-Analytics, adds that the issue needs to be studied primarily because the SCM project is not economically feasible and the construction of the highway is likely to be unprofitable and will require public or “quasi-state” funding. will not be interesting.
This is not the first time the authorities have questioned the feasibility of this project. As Kommersant reported in early November, the project is expected to be assessed “taking into account the President’s instructions, taking into account the prospects for the development of freight communication in the direction of the ports of the North-West Basin.” Sources in the newspaper said that the construction of the SCM could be postponed or canceled altogether: such an option is being discussed at the government level. They also said that along with the discussion of the abandonment of the SCM, the possibility of creating a dedicated cargo route for the movement of goods in this direction is being considered in the near future.