Russia’s aviation industry is one of the most affected by the sanctions. Many countries closed airspace to Russian flights, while Russian companies cannot repair and buy planes. After February 24, almost all international airlines and major aircraft builders left the Russian market.
This is evidenced by the calculations of the analytical project KSE Institute “Self-Sanctions”.
However, 31 international airlines are still operating in Russia, and four more plan to resume operations this month. For instance, some of the neighboring countries continue flights to Russia: Belavia (Belarus), Armenia (Armenia), Avia Air Traffic (Kyrgyzstan), Flyone Armenia (Armenia), Qazaq (Kazakhstan), Qanot Sharq (Uzbekistan), SCAT (Kazakhstan), Somon Air (Tajikistan) та Uzbekistan Airways (Uzbekistan).
In addition, two airlines from Azerbaijan plan to return to the Russian market in June: AZAL and Buta Airways.
Other companies that continue flights to Russia include Air Algerie (Algeria), Air Arabia (ОАЕ), Air Serbia (Serbia), AnadoluJet (Turkey), Ariana Afghan Airlines (Afghanistan), Conviasa (Venezuela), Corendon Airlines (Turkey), EgyptAir (Egypt), El Al Israel Airlines (Israel), Emirates Airlines (ОАЕ), Etihad Airways (ОАЕ), FlyDubai (ОАЕ), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Mahan Air (Iran), Mongolian Airlines (Mongolia), Pegasus Airlines (Turkey), Qatar Airways (Qatar), Royal Jordanian (Jordan), Turkish Airlines (Turkey), Cham Wings (Syria) та Air China (China).
According to Russian media, one of the largest African airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and the Jordanian carrier Fly Jordan Airlines will return to the Russian market in June.
A new airline Southwind has been created in Turkey for Russian passengers. It may start flights this summer. Russian airlines are looking for sanctions-busting ways. In particular, some of them are planning to move their business to Turkey to be able to buy new aircraft and spare parts. Another way is to switch to Russian-made planes. For example, Aeroflot plans to purchase 300 ships made in Russia: SSJ100 (Superjet 100), MS-21 and Tu-214.
The manufacturers claim that these vessels will be entirely produced in Russia. Russian airlines have problems not only with their own fleet but also with the leased vessels. Aeroflot canceled all flights to Sri Lanka in June after a leased plane was arrested in Colombo. After all, the court allowed the plane to return to Russia, but Aeroflot did not restart flights.
Back in March, the Russian authorities allowed to re-register leased aircraft, thus allowing Russian airlines not to return them to lessors. At the same time, airlines risk losing these planes, as they may be arrested in another country after landing.
Therefore, by the end of the month, 35 international airlines will operate in Russia. Russian airlines are taking steps to dodge sanctions. They plan to switch to Russian-made aircraft and are considering moving their offices to Turkey, which will allow them to buy new planes and spare parts for repairs without barriers.