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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Qatar, Emirates, Germania Add Russia Flights

Newcomer airlines Qatar, Emirates and Germania are expanding their networks into Russia as the domestic economy attracts more business and supports greater numbers of air travelers.

Qatar Airways on Wednesday made its first flight to Sheremetyevo Airport. It plans three Airbus 320 flights per week between Moscow and Doha.

"Moscow is a tempting destination and we are extremely enthusiastic about it," Qatar Airways spokeswoman Salam al-Shawa said by telephone from Doha.

Qatar said that this winter, it will boost the frequency of its flights from three per week to as many as seven. Just a month and a half earlier, on July 1, another Persian Gulf-based carrier, Emirates Airlines, began running five flights a week to Domodedovo, the international airport in southeast Moscow.

A third foreign carrier, Berlin-based Germania Express, is set to begin flights to Domodedovo later this month, its executive said this week.

G?nter Seibt, Germania's manager for Russia, said the low-cost airline will run five flights a week to Munich and to Berlin, for just over 100 euros one way.

This is the first no-frills carrier, of a field that includes easyJet and Ryanair, to tap the Russian market.

Seibt added that Germania hopes also to fly to St. Petersburg.

Earlier, Germania was in talks with Krasnoyarsk-based KrasAir to set up a joint venture to fly MD-83s. However, these plans have not yet materialized as the aircraft is not certified in Russia, Seibt said.

Seibt said continuous growth on the Russian market has prompted the company's decision. The number of passengers carried by Russian airlines grew by 14 percent in 2000 and 2001 and by 5.6 percent last year.