Budget Airline EasyJet to Cut Moscow-Manchester Route as Demand Flops
British budget airline EasyJet will scrap its Moscow-Manchester route from Oct. 23 due to falling demand for flights to and from the city in northern England, the company said Thursday.
EasyJet, which became the first major budget airline to link Moscow to Western Europe in 2012, has already pulled back from Russia. The company announced earlier this year it would halve the number of flights connecting Moscow to London and Manchester.
Passenger numbers on international flights from Russia have fallen sharply in recent months as the economy began to contract under pressure from Western sanctions and the low price of oil, Russia's main export.
Further driving down demand, the ruble has lost one-third of its value against the U.S. dollar since the start of 2014, raising the cost of travel for Russians.
EasyJet's press service said in an e-mail: "EasyJet can confirm that from 23rd October 2015 it will cease to operate its Manchester to Moscow service. This is in response to the reduction in demand to and from Russia in recent months."
The company said it would keep the reintroduction of the route under review.
After the Manchester route is cut, EasyJet will operate one flight per day from London to Moscow and Moscow to London, down from two per day previously.
Other major international carriers including U.S. carrier Delta, Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific, Air India, Thai Airways and Qatar Airways have reportedly announced reductions in flights to Russia in recent months in response to the slump in demand.