TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The first flight of Russian airline Siberia Airlines, also known as S7 Airlines, is slated to land at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport today (May 24).
Siberia Airlines has applied to run 21 flights from Vladivostok to Taiwan Taoyuan Airport from today until October, according to Apex Travel Service, the airline's agent in Taiwan. Flights will run once a week on an Airbus A320, which can carry 158 passengers over an estimated flight time of three hours and 50 minutes, reported CNA.
APEX Travel general manager Kevin Yue (蔚中龍) told CNA that Siberia Airlines is Russia's largest private air carrier. He said that the airline has a fleet of hundreds of single-aisle jets with hubs in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.
The airline's Asian destinations include Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. The airline hopes to expand its market in Taiwan and improve its air network in Asia in general, said Yue. He said that today's flight from Vladivostok to Taiwan is at 70 percent capacity and is mainly transporting Russian nationals coming in group tours and as individual tourists.
Many of the scheduled tours are in southern Taiwan because the Russian tourists are seeking warm refuge from the frigid conditions in their native land, said Yue. As for Taiwanese traveling to Russia, most of the group tours are slated for eight days, according to Yue.
During their tour of Russia, Taiwanese tourists will enjoy helicopter tours of the giant craters in the Kamchatka Peninsula, scenic views of Lake Baikal, and traveling through grasslands and forests by train on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Some packages also include tours of Sakhalin Island or North Korea.
Another Russian Air Carrier, Royal Flight, which ran charter flights to Taiwan in 2016 and 2017, has also applied for regular flights this year. The airline is slated to begin service between Moscow and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Saturday (May 25).
Royal Flight has applied to run a total of 21 flights, operating once per week on Saturdays from May 25 to October. Royal Flight's Moscow service will have a flight time of about 10.5 hours and will service the route with Boeing 767-300 jets, which can seat up to 300 passengers, reported CNA.