Transaero covers both ends of the air travel market
It is known that Russia is a land of contrasts, of extremes, if you want. This matter comes to the fore because Russian carrier Transaero, an airline that is no stranger to this blog, has recently unveiled two initiatives that aim at the two opposite ends of the market.
On the one hand, Transaero is rolling our its first class, called "Imperial", on its new Boeing 737-800 covering routes to London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Paphos (Cyprus), Astana and Almaty (Kazakhstan). This Imperial class cabin will feature seats that transform into flatbeds and meals from prestigious Moscow restaurant Pushkin (a treat I can personally recommend!)
Many airlines have first class cabins on long-haul large aircraft but this might be about the first time I see a three class configuration on such a small aircraft. Transaero is fitting its Boeing 737-800s with four Imperial class seats, eight business class seats and 132 passengers on economy.
In addition to appealing to the top end of corporate traffic, Moscow is a city with a large number of affluent people, for many of whom the gap between business class and flying executive on short and medium haul flights might seem to large, thus opening up a market opportunity in this segment.
On the other hand, in a move the is somehow reminiscent of a recent transatlantic inter-line agreement with American airline JetBlue, Transaero has signed an inter-line agreement with low cost carrier Easyjet. As per this agreement the Russian airline will be selling part of Easyjet's capacity on the Moscow-Domodedovo to London-Gatwick route through its own distribution channels.
Transaero already has its own flights between Moscow-Vnukovo and London-Heathrow, but this opens up new options for those traveling between the two capitals, as both Transaero and Easyjet have important networks radiating out of London Gatwick and Moscow Domodedovo respectively (even after the Russian airline announcement that it is shifting a larger part of its operations to Moscow Vnukovo airport). An offer that will appeal to a segment of passengers certainly different from those using the new short haul Imperial class!