The deal with Russia's second largest air carrier was struck under arrangements made by the two countries' civil aviation authorities in March, giving BMI an initial weekly quota of 10 flights, to be extended to 14 slots by the winter, a Russian Transport Ministry official said.
Until now, British Airways has been the U.K.'s only company to operate London-Moscow flights, along with No. 1 Russian carrier Aeroflot and Transaero. BA currently operates two flights per day, and is set to open an additional daily service in the upcoming winter season. Its other Russian destinations include St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.
The head of Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport, Alexander Yurchik, said the increasing numbers of passengers traveling between Moscow and London called for broader cooperation with British operators.