Japan Air Lines (JAL) is the latest in the seemingly endless list of airlines that have swapped from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) airport to its privately run rival, Domodedovo (DME).
The move leaves the oneworld alliance in something of a quandary; Finnair and Mal”v Hungarian Airlines remain at SVO, while British Airways, Iberia and Royal Jordanian have moved to DME. The oneworld policy is to try and group all its partners at one airport, preferably in the same terminal.
SVO is the home of Aeroflot and the Moscow hub of SkyTeam. Originally opened in 1959 and redeveloped for the 1980 Olympic Games, it has in recent times been overtaken by DME in terms of passenger numbers.
However, a new building, terminal C, has recently been opened as the Aeroflot hub, and under construction is a state of the art building - terminal B, due for completion next year. By the end of 2007, a direct metro service to Savyolovskiy railway station in Moscow should be complete.
DME has been rebuilt in recent times and stands comparison with any airport in the world. It offers a standard but very useful pay-as-you-go VIP service, and outstanding facilities for children, both those travelling with their guardians/parents and those unaccompanied.
Currently, 72 airlines fly to 223 domestic and overseas destinations from DME.
In 1967, JAL established an office in Moscow and sold passengers seats on Aeroflot-operated aircraft flying between Tokyo and Moscow. JAL first started its own flight operations between the two cities in 1970 using a Douglas DC8 four-engined jet.
Currently it offers flights three times a week to Tokyo Narita in the summer and just twice a week during the winter period. Boeing 777s are used on the route.