Last week Russia’s second biggest airline, S7 Airlines, was suspended from the oneworld alliance. Now Aeroflot, Russia’s biggest airline, has been suspended from the SkyTeam alliance. I’m a bit confused by what took so long?
Aeroflot suspended from SkyTeam alliance
It has today been announced that Russian national carrier Aeroflot has been suspended from the SkyTeam alliance. Or more precisely, “SkyTeam and Aeroflot have agreed to temporarily suspend the airline’s SkyTeam membership.”
In a statement, SkyTeam states that it’s working to limit the impact for customers and will inform those affected by any changes to SkyTeam benefits and services. With this suspension:
- SkyTeam benefits for customers of partner SkyTeam member airlines will be suspended when traveling on Aeroflot
- SkyTeam benefits for Aeroflot customers will be suspended when traveling on other SkyTeam airlines
For context, Aeroflot joined SkyTeam in 2006, and it was the seventh airline to join the alliance. SkyTeam was founded by airlines like Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Delta, and Korean Air.
Should airline alliances have minimum standards?
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roughly two months ago, we’ve seen many companies impose sanctions intended to harm Russia. In this case it’s pretty clear that SkyTeam isn’t taking a stand against Russia and Aeroflot, but rather presumably this comes down to Aeroflot not being able to pay membership dues anymore, or something along those lines.
I think this raises an interesting question. Whether justified or not, historically many consumers have associated airline alliance membership with an airline offering some basic level of quality, safety, etc
In this case Aeroflot has quite literally been stealing leased planes (under orders from Putin) and flying them domestically to avoid them getting repossessed. And let’s not even get into the situation of many Aeroflot planes not being properly insured.
Politics aside, should consumers expect that an alliance will take a stand against something like that, or are non-stolen planes not an expectation of flying with an airline belonging to a global alliance?
Personally I’ll be a bit tougher on SkyTeam than oneworld, given that Aeroflot is owned by the government of Russia, while S7 Airlines is privately owned.
Russian state-owned airline Aeroflot has temporarily been suspended from the SkyTeam alliance. This comes roughly two months after Russia invaded Ukraine. I’d imagine this decision has little to do with the airline alliance taking a stand, and a lot to do with Aeroflot no longer being able to contribute to the alliance financially due to all the restrictions in place.
What do you make of Aeroflot being suspended from SkyTeam? Do you think airline alliances should take a stand in situations like this?