Vladivostok Air will operate a flight service to Kamchatka starting in July 2012. “It is hoped a successful 2012 season will justify expansion of the service in 2013,” according to Vladivostok Air’s website. Vladivostok Air was acquired by Aeroflot Russian Airlines last year and initiated the process of merging the companies’ operations and service. All flights will continue to be operated with Vladivostok Air crew and aircraft.
While the Anchorage airport serves plenty of international cargo flights, there aren’t many opportunities for Alaskans to get their passports stamped without passing through the Lower 48. Now, one Russian Airline is working to make Anchorage a jumping-off point for the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Siberia has long been a popular destination for American hunters and fisherman, but not for mainstream tourists. That could be changing. Cities like Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka’s jumping-off point for outdoor adventurers, and Vladivostok, a coastal city with upscale accommodations and cultural attractions like museums and theaters (right, a church on Vladivostok’s waterfront), have made big efforts to encourage tourism. The Kamchatka Ecotourism Society delivers English-language trip assistance for hikers, skiers and sightseers, and the hilly city of Vladivostok has undergone years of rebuilding, replacing Soviet-era high-rises with luxury hotels and entertainment sites.
Interestingly, on the other side of the continent, direct flights between Greenland and Iqaluit will be initiated this summer as well.