More Flights, Safer Flights

Photo: Nikitin Yaroslav/

More Flights, Safer Flights

GLONASS, a Russian alternative to GPS, will see a wider use in the High North. On 24 January 2022, GLONASS JSC and Aerokhimflot, an alliance of small air carriers, signed a partnership agreement to improve the efficiency and safety of flight in the Russian Arctic. According to the agreement, all aircraft operated by the alliance in the Arctic are to be equipped with GLONASS satellite navigation trackers. The same goes for the drones to be deployed by the alliance in future.

GLONASS tracking devices are expected to considerably improve both the safety and transparency of air travel in the Russian Arctic. The carriers’ ability to know the spatial position of their aircraft in real time is specifically important in the context of the challenges faced by small airlines in the region, including harsh climate and weather conditions, huge distances, and poor telecommunication coverage.

It must be noted that the intensity of air traffic in the Russian High North will keep growing.

As provided for by the List of Subsidized Regional Scheduled Flights approved by the Russian air aviation authority on 31 December 2021, a number of flights connecting Russian polar regions with the rest of the country will be launched this year. Many of these flights, both local and interregional, will be brought back after having been previously put on pause owing to low profitability. They will be co-funded by the federal and regional budgets.

Polar airports are being restored, too. To ensure that they are fit for the increasing air traffic demands, ten of the existing seventy Russia’s Arctic airports will be modernized by 2027. The list of airports to undergo an overhaul will include those of Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar, Amderma and other polar cities and villages.

These steps are of high importance for the future of the Russian Arctic. Investing into polar airlines and airports will help improve the region’s connectivity and further stimulate its economic growth.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
27 January 2022
Arctic Today