Russia’s biggest airline halts international flights
Aeroflot, Russia’s biggest airline, is to halt all its international flights, except Belarus-bound ones, following a recommendation by the country’s aviation watchdog.
Rosaviatsiya called on all Russian airlines operating foreign-leased planes to halt passenger and cargo flights abroad beginning March 6 and from other countries to Russia beginning March 8.
“Aeroflot announces the temporary suspension of all international flights from March 8 (00:00 Moscow time) due to the occurrence of additional circumstances impeding the operation of flights. The cancelation also applies to international destinations in the Rossiya and Aurora airlines’ schedules,” Aeroflot said in a statement released on Saturday.
From March 6, the airline will stop admitting to international flights those passengers who have round-trip tickets with a return to Russia after March 8.
“Passengers on international flights with one-way tickets departing from the Russian Federation will be accepted for transportation until the flight is terminated,” it said. Those booked on now-canceled international flights are entitled to a full refund.
Aeroflot planes will continue to fly to and from Minsk, the Belarus capital, and across Russia. Another Russian carrier, the budget airline Pobeda, announced that it would also suspend international flights from March 8.
Revealing its recommendation to the airlines, Rosaviatsiya cited the “unfriendly” decisions taken by “a number of foreign states” against Russia’s civil aviation sector. The imposed measures have resulted in the “arrests or detentions” of foreign-leased aircrafts, the regulator said.
The West’s sanctions cover a wide array of economic sectors and have been imposed in response to Moscow’s military attack on Ukraine. Russia considers its offensive to be necessary to “demilitarize” Ukraine and protect its own safety, but Western nations consider it an unlawful and unjustifiable launch of a war.