Russia Airline Hopes to Start Russia, Alaska Flights

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A private airline in Russia is working on a plan to bring back-ticketed passenger service between Alaska and Russia’s far east.  A company made a test flight in a helicopter last week between Anadyr in Chukotka and Anchorage, stopping in Nome along the way. The idea is to promote tourism in Russia. John Tichotsky is a Chukotka expert in Anchorage who helped organize the test flight. He says the idea is to fly to the two Russian regions closest to Alaska.

The airline, called Vertical T, mainly operates helicopter flights in Chukotka right now.  But they’re hoping to start using more small planes. Tichotsky says while Alaskans take small plane service for granted, laws in Russia have severely limited their use. But he says those laws are changing.

Tichotsky says it takes about three hours by plane to fly from Anchorage to Chukotka. The long way around the globe- through Moscow- is a grueling trek of over 24 hours. Alaska Airlines flew to Chukotka and Kamchatka in the 90s, but gave up the route in favor of more profitable destinations. Other airlines have also tried to make a go of it over the years, but haven’t been able to keep it up.  Tichotsky says Vertical T plans to run more test flights next year.

Photo courtesy of Vertical-T: Vertical-T’s, Russian airline, Mi-8 helicopter and crew arrive at Ted Stevens International Airport (left to right – Captain Vladimir Borisovich Skurikhin (also Director-General of Vertical-T), Chief Mate Victor Ivanovich Redkin, copilot Alexander Lukyanov, flight engineer Alexander Tarasov)

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