The sanctions and the ban on direct flights between Russia and most of the EU countries have led to a sharp reduction in air traffic between the Russian Federation and the rest of the world.
According to ForwardKeys, in 2022 air traffic between Russia and the countries of the Middle East increased by 27% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, and with Turkey by 26%.
The number of flights between Russia and the European Union with the UK decreased by 99%, with North America – by 92%, the Asia-Pacific region – by 87%, Africa – by 76%, with other European countries – by 20%.
Perhaps the most surprising trend to emerge during the first ten months of the war, was wealthy Russians returning to international travel with a vengeance post-pandemic, whereas ordinary Russians stayed at home. International business class ticket purchases are up 10% from pre-pandemic 2019. Meanwhile, the number of trips in economy class has decreased by 70%.
However, since the beginning of 2023, the situation has changed, and by February 15, the share of bookings of expensive tickets compared to 2019 decreased by 26%, and tickets in economy class – by 66%, respectively.
According to the study, the most attractive destinations for wealthy Russians were Thailand (up 81% by 2019), the United Arab Emirates (up 108%), Turkey (up 41%), the Maldives (up 137%), and Egypt (up 181%).
The most popular route for Russians during the past year has been to and from Antalya, the Turkish riviera resort. Flights there from Moscow’s three major airports, Vnukovo, Domodedovo, and Sheremetyevo, were up by 144%, 77%, and 74% respectively, compared to pre-pandemic levels. The next busiest route was between Istanbul and Moscow Sheremetyevo, up 73%, and Vnukovo, down 14%. The sixth busiest route was between St Petersburg and Antalya, up 49%. It was followed by Yerevan – Moscow Sheremetyevo, down 47%, Dubai – Moscow Sheremetyevo, up 228%, Tashkent – Moscow Domodedovo, up 84%, and Antalya – Ekaterinburg, down 31%.