With airspace bans in place and ongoing geopolitical disruption, it would be easy to think that Russia was somewhat cut off from the rest of the world. But that’s not entirely the case. Although numerous foreign airlines have pulled out of services to Russian cities, there are still almost 3,500 flights per month arriving from international carriers.
In all, 30 overseas airlines still fly into Russia, offering 620,000 seats across almost 940 million available seat miles. We take a look at the biggest and most prolific international airlines still flying to Russia.
Turkish Airlines flies the most
Of the 30 non-Russian airlines still flying into the country, the carrier with the most flights is Turkish Airlines. In June, the airline is scheduled to fly a total of 1,395 services to the country, offering over a quarter of a million seats and 373 million seat miles to Russians. Its top destinations include Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO) at 676 flights, St Petersburg (LED) with 227 flights, and Moscow Domodedovo with 209.
Next to Turkish, Uzbekistan Airways is flying to Russia the most. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Also flying significant capacity into Russia, although around a third of what Turkish is flying, are Uzbekistan Airways (420 flights) and Belavia (392). Uzbekistan Airways offers almost double the seats, however, with a capacity of almost 83,000 compared to Belavia’s 48,000. This is down to its strong use of widebody Dreamliners and Boeing 767s alongside its Boeing 757 and A320 family aircraft. Belavia flies the 737 family and E-Jets.
Also operating over 100 flights in June were the UAE’s flydubai, Kyrgyzstan’s Avia Traffic Company, Turkey’s Pegasus, and Tajikistan’s Salmon Air.
The full list of 30 foreign airlines still flying to Russia in June is below:
|Avia Traffic Company||Kyrgyzstan||167|
|Azerbaijan Hava Yollary||Azerbaijan||52|
|Ariana Afghan Airlines||Afghanistan||4|
|Alia – The Royal Jordanian Airlines||Jordan||1|
Turkey and the UAE offer the most flight options
Alongside Turkish Airlines, low-cost Pegasus further bolsters connectivity to Russia from the country. In all, this makes up a total of 1,541 one-way flights between Turkey and Russia, with almost 300,000 seats this June.
Also conspicuous in its dedication to Russian connectivity is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Four airlines continue to fly to Russia from the Gulf State – flydubai, Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia. Although flydubai offers the most, Emirates still serves the country with 84 flights per month, while Air Arabia and Etihad both fly around 30.
Emirates’ President says it won’t stop flying to Russia unless it’s told to. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Some might say these airlines should reconsider their operations, given the public image of flying into Russia right now. Speaking to Simple Flying on the sidelines of the IATA AGM this week, Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates, defended his position, saying,
“As I’ve said, time and time again, we are operating [to Russia] because we haven’t been told not to operate … as long as the government that controls us says it’s okay, then we will continue to do so.”
All four airlines intend to continue flying to Russia for the rest of the summer season. Air Arabia’s schedules currently forecast doubling flight capacity by September, while the other three are planning to maintain similar levels of operations.
One Middle Eastern airline that has pulled out of Russia, however, is European low-cost Wizz Air’s UAE subsidiary. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi suspended flights to Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in February along with its parent company. The group further announced a full suspension of flights to Russia for the rest of the summer.