Murmansk, Russia, airport, routes, Oslo, Nordavia, red wings
Murmansk Regional Government

Scandinavian route to bring Murmansk closer

Direct flights will make the journey time much shorter than flying via Moscow.

Oslo is likely to have a new route up and running to Murmansk, the biggest city north of the Arctic Circle, by the end of this year.

Murmansk, which has a population of 307,257 compared to Tromsø’s 71,590, would be connected to the Norwegian capital with direct flights courtesy of the Russian airline Nordavia, which is based in Arkhangelsk.

Nordavia is looking at the possibility of flying between Oslo and Murmansk from the fourth quarter of this year, the Russian news site B-Port reports.

This would mean that travellers between Scandinavia and the Russian port city would not have to fly via Moscow, a detour that typically adds several hours to the journey time.

Murmansk has had a steady population decline for decades but it remains the biggest Arctic city by some distance. The city is situated a few hundred kilometres from the northern Norwegian border and houses Russia’s Northern Fleet.

The city is becoming an increasingly important port for shipping between Europe and Asia as climate change frees up the ice along Russia’s northern fringe.

Isolated airport
Despite its size, Murmansk has few air routes. Finnair flies charters to and from Helsinki in summer. Charter flights also head to Turkey and Greece and there are scheduled routes to other Russian cities.

In the 1990s, the Norwegian airline Braathens flew from Oslo Fornebu, Gardermoen’s predecessor, via Tromsø to Murmansk. Nordavia also flew from Arkhangelsk to Tromsø with a Murmansk stopover.

Nordavia operates nine Boeing 737-500 aircraft to a total of 21 destinations. Its roots go back to the Soviet era when it was called Arkhangelsk United Aviation Squadron.

It has changed its name several times, to for example Aeroflot-Nord to reflect its affiliation to state-owned Aeroflot, but in 2011 it was sold and took on its current name. A merger with another Russian carrier, Red Wings Airlines, was announced last year but it is still unclear exactly when and how it will be implemented.

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