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City news, 10.03.2006 12:04

First cheap flights to St Petersburg announced

flights Low-cost airline Germanwings will become the first budget airline to serve St Petersburg when it launches its 45th route in April.

A three-times weekly service linking the Russian city with Cologne-Bonn will kick off on April 29, the St Petersburg Times reports.

And that will open up the way for cheaper travel to St Petersburg from the UK, with Germanwings offering low-cost tickets to Cologne-Bonn from Stansted, Birmingham, Dublin and Edinburgh.

The no-frills airline hopes to fill 80 per cent of its seats on the new route - just under its network-wide average of 82.4 per cent.

Russia is slowly opening up to low-cost travellers, with several other budget airlines, including Ryanair and Air Berlin, poised to step into the market.

Germanwings will become the first low-cost operator flying to St Petersburg but has served Moscow since last summer from Cologne-Bonn and Berlin. A new route to Moscow from Stuttgart will debut on March 26.

However, some spectators assert Russia is unlikely to become a low-cost hub any time soon.

Talking to the St Petersburg Times, travel agent Maria Tarabarinova expressed concerns that many low-cost airlines would be put off by the Russian authorities' decision to set a limit on discounts, meaning the lowest ticket price is $100.

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