Russia’s national flag carrier and its biggest airline, Aeroflot, announced today that it is canceling all its international flights, effective March 8.
Beginning on March 6, Aeroflot will stop admitting to international flights those passengers who have round-trip tickets with a return to Russia after 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.
Aeroflot announcement came in the wake of a recommendation by Russia’s aviation watchdog, Rosaviatsiya, that called on all Russian carriers operating foreign-leased planes to stop passenger and cargo operations abroad beginning March 6 and from other countries to Russia beginning 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.
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.
“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.
The Western on Russia sanctions cover a wide array of economic sectors and have been imposed in response to Moscow’s unlawful and unjustifiable military attack on Ukraine.