As of 9 April, Russia is restoring flight connections with 52 “friendly” countries which have not participated in sanctions.
1. Russian resumes flight operations
As part of measures to open up after stringent Covid-19 restrictions, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the country is about to resume flights with several countries including Algeria, China, Lebanon, Argentina, South Africa, Peru and Pakistan. It will also lift restrictions on land border travel between Russia and China.
Mishustin’s remarks came during a meeting with representatives of the faction “United Russia” before the government report in the State Duma, according to a report from Interfax.
In March 2020, Russia imposed travel curbs in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
According to the Prime Minister, the Covid-19 incidence rate is on the decline, which means it’s time to expand the destinations that are available to Russian airlines. “Now they can fly without restrictions to 15 countries, including Qatar, Mexico and some others, and now we are resuming air links with 52 countries, including Argentina, India, China, South Africa and other countries friendly to us,” said Mishustin.
Russia closed airspace to air travel from 36 countries, which includes all 27 EU countries, in its response against sanctions targeting its airlines. As a consequence, sanctions have forced lessors to cancel leasing contracts with Russian airlines for about 500 aircraft.
The sanctions also prevent Russian airlines from buying aircraft parts or maintenance services from Europe or the United States, adding to the pressure on the world’s 11th largest aviation market from a ban on using North American and European airspace.
Responding to the Western-imposed sanctions, Russia issued a law allowing the country’s airlines to place airplanes leased from foreign companies on the country’s aircraft register. The manoeuvre is a blow to the West, fearing a mass default involving hundreds of jetline.