On July 12, 2014, Russian air carrier, Yakutia Airlines, will launch its third season of passenger and cargo service between Alaska and the Russian Far East. Flights will connect Anchorage and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka Peninsula, with onward service available to Khabarovsk, one of Eastern Russia’s most important transportation hubs. Connections are also available from Petropavlovsk and Khabarovsk to destinations throughout Russia. The flights will operate on Saturdays for 10 weeks from July 12 to September 13, utilizing Boeing 737-700 aircraft; flight time from Anchorage to Kamchatka will be less than 4 ½ hours. (Photo above: Exploring Kamchatka’s volcanoes by helicopter, Courtesy of JATM).
The flights, which are operated and financed by InterPacific Aviation and Marketing Inc./AirRussia.US based in Seattle, WA, are welcomed by outdoorsmen, business people, tourists and families with ties in both the US and Russia. Tickets will be available through AirRussia.US, its sales network, and most professional travel agencies.
Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula is renowned for world-class fly fishing and exceptional wildlife viewing. Thousands of miles of pristine streams and rivers flow from the peninsula’s central mountain ridges to the sea, forming ideal trout and salmon habitat. Brown bear, snow ram, Steller’s sea eagle and seabirds abound on Kamchatka, which is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The peninsula is also home to the indigenous Itelmen, Koryak and Even peoples. Kamchatka has recently been featured in Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine (Jan-Feb 2014), and listed as a top destination by USA Today.
Experience Kamchatka’s native cultures. Photo: Kamchatintour.
Khabarovsk is an important crossroads of river, train and air transportation just a few miles from the Chinese border. Travelers may connect here to the Trans-Siberian Railroad or to flights throughout Russia. Named for Cossack Yerofey Khabarov, who explored the Amur River in 1651, the city of Khabarovsk is one of the region’s oldest and most picturesque cities.
Khabarovsk is one of the region’s oldest and most picturesque cities. Photo: JATM
Tour operators and outfitters experienced in travel to Eastern Russia offer trips to accommodate a wide range of interests, ranging from wildlife and cultural tours to fishing, volcano-climbing and scientific expeditions. Major fly-fishing outfitters include The Best of Kamchatka and The Fly Shop.
Kamchatka Rainbow trout routinely reach 21 inches/5 pounds, while many exceed 7 pounds. Photo: Val Atkinson, Courtesy of The Fly Shop
Tours to view wildlife, experience Kamchatka’s indigenous cultures, and explore its geologic wonders first hand include Kamchatintour, Betchart Expeditions, 56th Parallel, Secret Compass, MIR Corporation, 50 Degrees North, Explore Kamchatka and Ultimate Rivers. Planet Yakutia and Nord Stream offer a diverse range of tours to Yakutsk and the Republic of Sakha. Zegrahm Expeditions and Heritage Expeditions offer cruise vacations to Kamchatka and neighboring regions. Klondike Travel offers trip packages for Russians traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, Seattle, and other US travel destinations. Most operators are pleased to arrange custom trips upon request. Links to operator sites may be found at AirRussia.US.
Explore the rich culture of Yakut people. Photo: Yakut woman playing khomus, national musical instrument of Yakuts. Photo: Yakutia Airlines
Mutnovsky is one of the most active volcanoes of southern Kamchatka. Photo: Rene Limeres, Ultimate Rivers
Yakutia Airlines is a regional Russian airline headquartered in the central Siberian city of Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha. It maintains hubs in Yakutsk, Moscow and Krasnodar, in Russia’s Black Sea resort area. The airline, which operates scheduled passenger service throughout Russia, Europe and Central Asia, carries more than 80,000 passengers per month and employs more than 1,400. In 2011, it was nominated for the prestigious “Wings of Russia” prize as the country’s best regional air carrier. It operates a fleet of more than 30 modern aircraft, including Boeing 737 and 757, Bombardier Dash-8 Q-300, and Sukhoi Superjet aircraft. The airline’s maintenance facility at Yakutsk is specially designed to repair, maintain and test aircraft in the extreme cold winter conditions for which the region is known.
In May 2012, Yakutia Airlines received authorization from United States authorities to serve Alaska, and has successfully provided passenger and cargo service on the Anchorage – Petropavlovsk seasonally since then. Flight time from Anchorage to Kamchatka is 4 hours, 20 minutes, and from Kamchatka to Khabarovsk an additional 2 ½ hours. The airline will also offer twice-weekly nonstop service between Kamchatka and Tokyo, Japan, from July 13 – August 17. Details about Yakutia Air’s service, including schedules, traveler information, and tours are available at AirRussia.US.