The world has been shrinking for Russia’s Aeroflot in recent days, as all kinds of countries have added flight bans against Russia. So while the state-owned airline hasn’t been able to operate many international flights, the carrier’s global route network is about to shrink even further.
Aeroflot suspends international flights March 8, 2022
Aeroflot has announced plans to suspend all international flights in the coming days. Specifically:
- Aeroflot’s international flights from Russia will be suspended as of March 6, 2022
- Aeroflot’s international flights to Russia will be suspended as of March 8, 2022
The only exception to this will be flights to Belarus, which will continue to operate (though for political purposes that might as well be considered a domestic flight). This change has come at the recommendation of Russia’s state aviation authority.
Why is Aeroflot suspending international flights?
The primary motivation for Aeroflot suspending international flights has nothing to do with airspace closures, or with Aeroflot’s ability to sell tickets being greatly limited. Rather it has to do with the risk of the carrier’s planes being seized. All kinds of sanctions are being imposed against Russia, and among those, the European Union has added a ban on leasing aircraft to Russian airlines.
Some of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies are based in the European Union, so hundreds of jets operated by Russian airlines are at risk of being seized. Aeroflot is refusing to cooperate with leasing companies’ demands to return the jets, so the decision has been made to just operate planes domestically. This way aircraft leasing companies can’t seize these jets while they’re at foreign airports.
So yeah, Aeroflot is essentially flying around “stolen” jets domestically at this point. With the Ruble having collapsed, I also can’t imagine that Aeroflot would even be able to make lease payments anymore. And to think that in 2020, Aeroflot outlined a plan to become a global five star airline.
One has to wonder what the long term goal here is? I guess Aeroflot hopes these sanctions will be lifted eventually, and the airline can keep flying these jets in the future? Seems like a stretch, but then again, one has to wonder what the long term plan is for so much going on right now…
Aeroflot is suspending its international flights by March 8, 2022, with the exception of flights to Belarus. That’s because aircraft leasing companies are trying to seize jets that are operated by Aeroflot, and if the airline operates internationally, there’s a high risk of that happening. By just keeping these jets in Russia, Aeroflot is unlikely to face any issues with its fleet being taken away… at least for now.
What do you make of Aeroflot’s decision to suspend international flights?