Up Next for the Winter Olympic Games: Sochi, Russia
Wednesday 3, March 2010
As the 21st Winter Olympic Games wind down in Vancouver, my thoughts naturally turn to the 22nd Winter Olympic Games scheduled for February 7 through 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. 2014 will mark the first time that Russia will host the Winter Games – Moscow hosted the Summer Games in 1980.
Sochi, situated on the coast of the Black Sea at the base of the Caucasus Mountains, is served by Sochi International Airport (AER). The region is a popular tourist destination and is unofficially the “summer capital” of Russia. It’s also important to note that Sochi is just north of the Russian border with the Republic of Georgia, the home of the Olympic luger Nodar Kumaritashivili who was killed during a training run just prior to the start of the Games in Vancouver.
Today, passengers can reach Sochi International nonstop from 11 airports. Seventy percent of Sochi’s flights are destined for Russia’s capital of Moscow – all three Moscow-area airports have service to Sochi. In fact, over 90 percent of service from Sochi is domestic. Sochi’s international service is limited to five international destinations: Gyorumri, Armenia (SVX), Istanbul, Turkey (IST), Tashkent, Uzbekistan (TAS), Vienna, Austria (VIE) and Yerevan, Armenia (EVN).
Sochi’s 18 airlines operate an average of 34 daily flights (arrivals and departures). There is no dominant carrier at Sochi; the five largest carriers – all Russia-based airlines – account for two-thirds of total service, and the remaining 13 carriers offer limited service. UTAir is the largest carrier with 15 percent of total flights. SkyExpress, Russia’s first low-cost carrier, ranks second, followed by well-known Russian carriers Aeroflot and S7, respectively. Rounding out the top five is Kuban Airlines.
Passenger traffic at Sochi International has been increasing steadily over the past several years, reaching nearly two million annually. A new terminal is scheduled to open in March 2010, just one of many infrastructure projects underway to prepare the city for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
The Olympic flame will make one detour between Vancouver and Sochi: the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, UK! Follow progress in Sochi at the official site of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
(Source: Official Airline Guide - OAG)
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