Dobrolyot, Russia's only budget airline, managed to sell several thousand tickets within the first 12 hours of its website opening for business, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
So far the airline only offers flights between Moscow and the Crimean city of Simferopol. The cost of a return ticket is 6,861 rubles ($200) including airport tax for a 2 hour and 50 minute flight.
Dobrolyot's website went online late Monday and by noon on Tuesday 4,000 tickets had been sold, despite the site experiencing technical difficulties due to the high volume of traffic, the company spokesman told Vedomosti.
All of Dobrolyot's tickets for its flights on June 11 and 12 have been sold, he added.
The company said on its website that its tickets would be 40 percent cheaper than competitors' prices. Comparable economy tickets offered by other airlines for the same dates start from 14,500 rubles ($424). However, if tickets are booked in advance for the end of July and further, they can be found at 7,000 rubles ($204), which is very close to what Dobrolyot is offering.
Currently, Dobrolyot's fleet consists of two Boeing 737 aircraft and a Sukhoi SuperJet 100. The company said earlier that it plans to increase the number of airplanes in operation to 8 by the end of the year.
It is also set to expand its route network to include St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Kazan, Perm, Samara and Yekaterinburg, in addition to Simferopol.
Dobrolyot is a subsidiary of Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot. Aeroflot's investment in its low-cost subsidiary was earlier estimated at $100 million over two years.
A previous attempt to create a budget carrier in Russia failed. Avianova, a low-cost airline which started flights in 2009, was shut down two years later because it was consistently unprofitable.