DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Russian carrier KD Avia (KD) ceased operations in 2009 due to ongoing financial difficulties and the inability to secure additional funding.
The airline had been struggling for some years, blaming the decline in passenger numbers and cargo revenue. Russian authorities had planned to suspend the carrier’s AOC on September 14.
Previously known as Kaliningrad Avia, the airline can trace its history back to 1945 when it was formed as part of Aeroflot (SU). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, KD became an independent carrier from SU in 1992.
Following a fleet renewal program, replacing Russian airliners such as the Tupolev Tu-154 with Western-built Boeing 737s, the airline was rebranded as KD Avia.
It began to look at turning itself into a hub and spoke carrier, connecting Russia and its Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to the rest of Europe. Passengers would be transferred through its hub at Khrabrovo Airport (KGD) instead of traveling to Moscow. Plans were in place to develop a new US$60 million modern passenger terminal capable of handling eight million passengers per year.
Growth and Decline
By 2007 the airline’s fleet had grown to 19 737-300s with further airframes on order. The expansion had allowed KD to launch international flights. These included London (LGW), Amsterdam (AMS), Paris (CDG), Berlin (TXL), Hannover (HAJ), Hamburg (HAM), Dusseldorf (DUS), Munich (MUC), Tel-Aviv (TLV), Barcelona (BCN), Prague (PRG) and Milan (MXP).
Despite hopes to grow passenger numbers to two million passengers per year, passenger numbers only rose to 700,000. Capacity shortfalls meant numerous flights had to be canceled, and the airline’s bold ambitions were not met with the financial backing needed.
Featured Image: KD Avia Boeing 737-300 (EI-DJS). Photo: Gennady Misko, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons