Yakutia Airlines’ Flight From Russia To Anchorage

Filed Under: Other Airlines

As an aviation geek, there’s nothing I love more than seemingly random flights that have an interesting story. There are way more of these than you might expect.

A couple of days ago I wrote about Alaska Airlines’ new flight from Anchorage to Adak via Cold Bay, and that had me thinking about Russia.

That also made me realize that I’ve never dedicated a post to what I consider to be the world’s most interesting transpacific flight (though I did write about it in passing when China Southern was considering a flight from Harbin to Anchorage, though that never materialized).

Yakutia’s flight from Petropavlovsk to Anchorage

Yakutia Airlines is a Russian airline based in Yakutsk, in Eastern Siberia. The airline operates a fleet of about 20 planes. I’ve written about this airline before because they’re installing flat bed seats in business class on select 737s, used for premium routes to Moscow.

What most people probably don’t realize is that Yakutia Airlines flies to the US… at least seasonally.

Yakutia Airlines operates a summer seasonal flight from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport to Anchorage. This year the airline will be operating the ~1,960 mile flight once weekly between July 13 and September 14, 2020.

In 2020 there will be 10 roundtrips between the two cities. In 2019 there were just three and in 2018 there were just eight, so I guess it’s safe to say that they’re projecting the route to be rather popular.

The flight operates with the following schedule:

Yakutia 509 Petropavlovsk to Anchorage departing 9:25PM arriving 5:50AM
Yakutia 510 Anchorage to Petropavlovsk departing 7:30AM arriving 8:15AM (+1 day)

You’ve gotta love the time change there, as the flight is under five hours in each direction, yet there’s a four hour time change (really a 20 hour time change, since you’re crossing the international date line).

Fares are really high when you consider how short the flight is, and start at just under $2,000 roundtrip. Ouch.

Who is taking these flights?

It’s my understanding that these flights mostly have tourists from Alaska who are looking to visit the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is popular for all kinds of outdoor activities, from hunting to fishing to rafting.

The flight continues on to Yakutsk, so presumably some people are vacationing there as well. Based on my understanding there aren’t that many people originating in Russia and visiting Anchorage.

Bottom line

Yakutia’s seasonal flight from Petropavlovsk to Anchorage is the most interesting transpacific flight, in my opinion (with the most interesting transatlantic flight being from Saint Pierre and Miquelon to Paris on Air Saint Pierre).

As an aviation geek routes like this fascinate me endlessly, and hopefully I’m able to take some of these at some point. Now if only Yakutia would fly their 737 with flat beds to Anchorage — that would be a real treat (then again, given how much they’re charging for economy, I can’t even imagine how expensive business class would be).

Anyone find this Yakutia Airlines route as interesting as I do?

(Featured image courtesy Björn Strey)

Comments
  1. Actually, the (+1 day) applies to the westbound flight 510 (due to the crossing of the International Date Line). So it’s more of a 20 hour time change.

  2. Interesting. Would prefer if AS flew it or at least codeshare 🙂
    BTW You got the date change wrong. The +1 is when crossing the date line westbound from US to Russia on flight 510

  3. That route sounds very interesting! I still remember learning about Kamchatka years ago when I was a kid playing this board game called RISK. Hopefully I’ll get to fly that route someday but at $2000 r/t for economy, that’s not cheap! I did see from their website that if you have a minimum stay of over 2 weeks, the promo fare is $1200 r/t.

  4. Have been to Siberia a few times, to several cities, but am dying to go to Kamchatka. My understanding is that it is hard to get around there and you really need a guide. But looks beautiful. I recommend a summer visit 😉

  5. Russia will issue online visas ($50) for citizens of many countries (including Germany but excluding USA) starting in 2021. Kamchatka looks like one of the last few unspoiled and untouched amazingly beautiful lands. Getting there on this flight would be amazing. Also, Aeroflot flies subsidized flights to Russia’s far east (including Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) from Moscow, so paid tickets back to Europe should not be that expensive.

    https://loyaltylobby.com/2020/05/11/russia-mulls-earlier-adoption-of-e-visa-originally-planned-for-january-1st-2021-u-s-uk-canada-excluded/

  6. Maybe a bunch of seats are sold to travel agents as part of a package, and the flight is cheaper that way?

    Hmm, anyone have a link to an Alaskan travel agency offering this? That would be interesting to see how they play up Kamchatka.

  7. I went to Irkutsk last summer, and I’m trying to go back this July.

    Right now the best way to go is to fly into Tokyo or Seoul, and then connecting flight to Vladivostok (S7 has suspended a lot of IKT flights) , then to Irkutsk. It’s a lot of backtracking…

    I didn’t know about this and could be perfect to use to get to Siberia now. Thanks!

  8. If you live in Anchorage and are traveling to Moscow, would it be faster to take this flight west to Kamchatka (assuming you want to leave on a day it offers service) and then from there to Moscow, or to go east and connect somewhere in the US?

  9. So they have a direct flight from Petropavlovsk to Anchorage, but not from hubs like New York or Chicago? Confusing.

  10. Kamchatka is an amazingly beautiful place. I can’t even describe it with words. It was definitely an eye-opener for this Alabama-bred guy. I spent a few weeks and rang in the New Year there in 2016/2017. Was it bloody cold in winter? Absolutely. Was the experience worth it? 1000% yes!!! I also had the opportunity to spend some days far away from the hustle and bustle of Petropavlovsk with the native Koryak people, learning about their customs, eating traditional food, learning their cultural dances and learning how to do dog sledding. They actually breed dogs for the Russian version of Iditarod, called Beringia, which is cool. I also got the chance to visit a rest base where I soaked in hot mineral spring water before plunging into an icy lake. Sounds crazy, but it was actually very refreshing. The locals were joking that I should be given a Russian passport for doing it 😉 Furthermore, the volcanoes were spectacular, and I just loved going out near sunset and watching the sun brilliantly reflecting off of them. Call me crazy, but I’d recommend visiting in winter if the chance ever arises. There is a beauty all its own.
    I’ve lived in the Russian Far East since 2013, but haven’t visited Kamchatka in summer, so I need to rectify that. The one time I went, I just flew Aurora from Vladivostok for less than $150 round-trip. While the Yakutia flight sounds very interesting, it’s waaaaayyyyyy overpriced. If you want to get there fromEurope or the US, just fly Aeroflot and connect via Moscow. As @profan mentioned, the flights are subsidized, and are not very expensive.

  11. @Christopher Rupp Well, considering Anchorage is significantly closer to Petropavlovsk than New York, it does make quite a bit of sense. Furthermore, whatever Yakutia does has no relation to whether or not any other airlines fly from major hubs to Anchorage. It’s like comparing Albert Einstein to Justin Beiber. This flight serves two purposes: To connect the native peoples, and to cater tourists seeking to visit Kamchatka. That’s it.

  12. Lucky: If you take that flight in reverse, i.e., originate in KPC, the price for the roundtrip in coach drops to <1,000$ (if booking direct).

  13. Yakutia is an autonomous republic in eastern Russia; population 948,400 (est. 2009); capital, Yakutsk. It is the coldest inhabited region in the world, with 40 percent of its territory lying north of the Arctic Circle.

  14. This is a bit pedantic, but isn’t it inaccurate to refer to Kamchatka as being part of Siberia? The Russian Government classifies it as being part of the Russian Far East, and I think most geographers don’t consider it to be Siberia either.

    In the West we often misuse the term “Siberia.” While one ‘might’ be able to make a weak case about this being in Siberia, it is always accurate to refer to Kamchatka as being in the Russian Far East.

  15. @Jerry… Geographic and political correctness… Aren’t you asking to much in a blog like this? It wouldn’t be his first or last mistake…

  16. Has anyone heard if Russia plans on opening to intl visitors this summer? Given the number of cases they have, I would doubt it. I have been going to eastern Siberia every May/June since 2016. Even in smaller cities like Chira there are already 300 cases.

  17. @Jerry You are right! I thought about mentioning it in my earlier post, but it was already a bit too long.

  18. @ Alan I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Aeroflot still isn’t selling international tickets on their website until August 1st, and from personally living in Russia now, it seems like the restrictive domestic measures may last until at least the end of June, but who knows how long after that they will open up the borders. The cases are skyrocketing now, and the federal government has given governors lots of leeway in determining lockdown measures. Moscow is very restricted now, and even Primorskiy Krai, the region where I live, is being heavily restrictive in terms of movement.

  19. @Jesse Thomas

    Thanks for the info. I wasnt really giving it much hope but it seems odd they would start flights from Alaska in July. The virus is certain to spread more quickly in Siberia as they lift restrictions in Moscow and permit people to travel. Hopefully next summer.

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