In light of the on-going war in Ukraine, multiple countries have announced the ban of Russian aircraft in their airspace and, one by one, Russia did the same in response to each of them. However, last Saturday, Russia’s biggest airline announced the suspension of all flights abroad, except to Belarus.
The statement on Aeroflot’s website informs passengers that “new additional circumstances impeding the operation of flights” led to the cancellations. The suspensions enter into force at midnight Moscow time, on 8 March, which is 9pm GMT on Monday, 7 March. In order to avoid passengers being unable to return to Russia, the airline stated that people holding tickets with return dates after 8 March will not be admitted on board in the days prior to the suspension.
For passengers staying abroad up to the moment when flights are suspended, the airline will exercise maximum effort to organize their return to Russia.Aeroflot
Aurora and Rossiya, subsidiaries of Aeroflot, as well as the S7, the second airline in the country, will also stop international flights. Internal routes will, however, still be serviced, as well as flights to and from Minsk, Belarus being one of the few European countries that has not closed its airspace for Russia, even supporting the invasion of Ukraine.
The measures come in response to serious restrictions against Russia. The closure of most of the European airspace led to hundreds of kilometres being added to certain routes, making them uneconomical.
Besides the closure of airspace, lending aircraft companies have also been asked to break their contracts with Russia. Considering almost 75% of Russian planes are under a rental contract, almost half from European lessors, they could be seized. Thus, Rossaviatsia, the Russian aviation company, has “recommended” Russian airlines operating rental planes to stop flights abroad to avoid the confiscation of aircraft.