EasyJet will launch the first ever scheduled flights from Manchester to Moscow next spring, when it will also start flying to the Russian capital from London Gatwick for first time.
The airline will also launch flights from Manchester to Prague and Thessaloniki in the spring. It will base eight aircraft at the airport from March 2013 and hire about an extra 80 cabin crew, pilots and ground handling staff to support the new flights.
The four flights a week service to Moscow will go on sale in the next few weeks. The airline, which announced record profits yesterday morning, said it had been awarded the rights to fly to Domodedovo airport by the Civil Aviation Authority.
EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "We are pleased to announce the launch of the first ever scheduled services between Manchester and Moscow. These new services exactly fit easyJet's 'join the dots' strategy which is to add flights to destinations from multiple bases across Europe providing passengers with convenient point to point services.
"Russia has a fast growing economy and is a country rich in culture and history - so a direct link from the North of England has been long overdue. With our strong European network we look forward to connecting Moscow with other European cities.
"We are also pleased to be able to announce further expansion from Manchester with the arrival of another aircraft in March 2013. This is great news for the regional economy creating much-needed jobs in the city.
"Moscow and Prague will appeal to business and leisure travellers alike with Thessaloniki promising to be a popular choice for holidaymakers from the region. We look forward to welcoming passengers onboard our new services in spring next year."
Manchester will become the only airport in the UK outside of London offering Moscow services. The airline expects to fly over 60,000 passengers in its first year of service between Manchester and Russia.
The additional aircraft at Manchester will also enable easyJet to launch new routes to the Czech Republic capital city of Prague and Thessaloniki as well as add more frequencies to popular destinations like Paphos and Santorini.
The airline will offer three services a week to Prague on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays along with twice weekly services to the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Mondays and Fridays.
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