Aeroflot, S7 Airlines to Stop International Flights From Russia

Aeroflot and S7 Airlines, the two biggest Russian airline companies, will suspend all international flights to and from Russia.


According to the Washington Post, Russia’s biggest airline Aeroflot has decided to suspend all international flight traffic.

With the exception of flights to the Belarussian capital of Minsk (which by all means and purposes is more of a domestic flight as the two countries are in a customs union) the Russian flagship carrier will stop with all other international flights starting 8th March.

In a press statement, the state-owned airline cited “circumstances that hinder operating flights” as the reason for the suspension of international flights.

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An Aeroflot plane being de-iced at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. ©Paliparan


Aeroflot is currently a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance together with companies like Delta Airlines, Air France, KLM, Saudia, China Airlines and Korean Air.

However, since the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, other airlines such as Delta and KLM have already suspended their codeshare agreements and cooperation with Aeroflot.

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Aeroflot is part of the SkyTeam alliance. ©Paliparan

S7 Airlines

Another major Russian airline which has suspended its international flight operations is S7 Airlines.

According to the company, which did not mention a reason behind the suspension of international flights, all international flights to and from Russia would cease today (Saturday 5th March).

S7 Airlines is Russia’s second largest airline and a member of the Oneworld alliance. of which also companies such as American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways are part.

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Take-off view from Irkutsk Airport. ©Paliparan

Leased planes

There are several reasons why Russian airlines are deciding to suspend all international flights.

One of the primary reasons is the risk of planes being impounded by foreign authorities upon landing in other countries.

A major part of the aircraft fleet of Russian airline companies like Aeroflot and S7 Airlines is leased from western companies based in countries which have sanctioned Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Another reason is that Russian airlines are being cut off from the international insurance markets.

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Watching some Aeroflot planes on the tarmac from the Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport business lounge. ©Paliparan

Airspace closure

Further complicating the operation of international flight is the closure of international airspace by countries in the European Union, the United States and Canada.

This makes it almost impossible for Russian airlines to fly to many international destinations around the world.

With the exception of some flights to Istanbul, the United Arab Emirates and former Soviet republics in Central Asia, almost all international airline traffic had already ceased because of such airspace restrictions.

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Lots of countries across the world have closed their airspace for Russian carriers such as Aeroflot and S7 Airlines. ©Paliparan

Other challenges

The closure of international airspace and the possibility of leased planes being impounded are from the only challenges facing Russian aviation.

Sabre and Amadeus, the two biggest software companies for airline reservation and ticketing in the world, have suspended their distribution agreements with Aeroflot.

Perhaps more crippling, Airbus and Boeing will halt the supply of aircraft parts to Russian airline companies.

As the fleets of most Russian airlines such as Aeroflot and S7 mostly exist out of modern Airbus and Boeing planes, this could cause major problems for these airline in the near future just to keep their aircraft flightworthy.

The only Russian-made aircraft in the Aeroflot fleet is the Sukhoi Superjet, while the airline also has some orders placed for the Irkut MC-21, which is expected to enter service in 2022.

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An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet at Bucharest Otopeni Airport. ©Paliparan


It’s not only Russian aviation which is impacted by the war in Ukraine as also other international transport links are rather limited at the moment.

Only a handful of international airlines – most of them from the Middle East or Asia – are still flying to Russia as almost every European and American carrier has pulled out of the country.

Apart from the Allegro train which links St. Petersburg with Helsinki in Finland and connections between Russian cities and countries in Central Asia, there are currently no international trains to and from Russia.

Most of these trains have already been suspended in the last few years due to COVID or following conflicts in neighbouring countries such as Belarus.

However, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine the likelihood of these connections being restored in the near future are unlikely.

That leaves limited bus routes from Russia to Finland and the Baltics, as well as private road transport, as the only viable options for those wanting to travel between Russia and other countries in Europe.

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Helsinki Central Station. At the moment, the Allegro train between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg is the only international train connection from Russia to another European country. ©Paliparan


Aeroflot and S7 Airlines are suspending all international flights from and to Russia, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the massive restrictions on Russian aviation.

It will lead to the growing isolation of Russia, as also other transport links to the country are rather limited at the moment.

In some ways, it seems that transport links to Russia are now even more limited than they were in the days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War.

Hopefully, the measures will help bringing an end to the horrible Russian invasion of Ukraine, even though it means that a lot of ordinary people in Russia will suffer from this on the short term.

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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