Russia suspends all international air connections

Aeroflot has been granted monopoly rights to continue flights to the world’s capital cities, most of which are now inaccessible

Russia suspends Russian flag carrier is currently able to operate to just 20 or so of its roughly 150 permitted routes (Aeroflot)

Following last week’s Russian government ban on foreign nationals from entering the country due to the global spread of the Covid-19 disease, the nation’s leaders have now imposed a ban on all flights between Russia and other countries that are operated by both local and foreign carriers, with the exception of specific charter flights designated for evacuating Russians and returning foreign citizens to their respective countries.

Scheduled flights linking Moscow with the world’s largest capital cities are also being allowed to continue – a decision which means that state-owned flag carrier Aeroflot has been granted a virtual monopoly on such international services.

According to an instruction from the Russian government, aviation authority Rosaviatsiya has, from March 23, suspended scheduled passenger flights to all foreign countries. Charter flights will continue until all Russian citizens have been repatriated, provided that “flights to Russia carry only Russian citizens, whilst flights to other countries carry their respective citizens, or citizens of third countries,” says the regulator.

Although the Russian authorities have granted Aeroflot exclusive rights to maintain international flights between Moscow and the world’s capitals, in reality – due to bans introduced by other governments – it is able to operate to just 20 or so of its roughly 150 permitted routes.

With these developments putting even more pressure on all of Russia’s carriers, which are still hopeful that the domestic market will remain open, large charter leisure carriers such as Azur Air, Royal Flight and IFly are already suspending almost 100 per cent of their operations.

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