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Ryanair's plan for Dublin-Russia route launch this year put on ice

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St Petersburg in Russia

St Petersburg in Russia

St Petersburg in Russia

Ryanair has ditched plans to fly between Dublin and St Petersburg in Russia this year.

The commercial director of Northern Capital Gateway, the company that operates St Petersburg Pulkovo airport, said that it had received formal notification from Ryanair that it will not launch the route in 2014.

That decision comes as Ryanair yesterday started taking delivery of the first of 180 Boeing aircraft it ordered last year. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary was on hand at Dublin Airport to welcome the aircraft from Seattle.

Ryanair had expected to be in a position to launch flights from Dublin to St Petersburg this autumn.It has also been eyeing a service to Moscow.

Ryanair was granted permission last year by Russia's federal air transport agency, Rosaviatsia, to operate the routes as of March this year.

But speaking to the Irish Independent last month, Mr O'Leary claimed the delay in launching the routes to Russia was because tourism funding support hadn't been forthcoming.

"Services from Ireland to Moscow and St Petersburg would be very successful," said Mr O'Leary.

"But they're long flights and they would be a relatively low fare for a couple of years while you're building them up," he added.

"What strikes me as surprising is that at a time when the tourism industry is marketing Russia and China as two major targets, is that an airline that's willing to fly to Russia can't get any support from them."

He said services such as ground-handling had already been agreed at St Petersburg.

The Russian market could be a significant one for Ryanair. If it succeeds in buying Cyprus Airways, it would target Russia. Mr O'Leary has also said that if Ryanair launches services to Israel, Russia would be one of the markets it could serve from there.

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