Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

Ukraine Crisis: Russian Airlines Expected to Carry 103m Passengers in 2023

LONDON – Despite sanctions hitting the region hard, Rosaviatsia believes that Russian carriers could carry up to 103 million passengers in 2023.

The Russian regulator believes that 91.1 million of this will be handled on domestic routes, whilst 10.1 million will be on the limited international network that such carriers have already.

Expanding more on this was Vladimir Poteshkin, the Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsia):

“The planned amount of funds to be allocated from the federal budget to implement the subsidy program [in 2023] will be kept at the level of this year – that’s approximately 27.5 billion rubles. […] In a similar vein, there are plans to extend the subsidy program for Russian airlines to perform domestic, including local, carriage within the framework of government resolution No. 761 in 2023,”

“The government support measures enumerated will contribute to achieving the carriage figures for 2023; as has already been saying, traffic volumes have already been determined for up to 2030 in the strategy, and accordingly, the plan for 2023 is 103 million passengers”.

Passenger traffic dropped has dropped 10% so far this year, with Rosaviatsia predicting that around 100 million passengers will be handled by the end of the year.

However, pre-COVID & pre-Ukraine, around 128 million passengers were handled, so you can definitely see the drop that has occurred because of the conflict.

Things Will Get Harder…


Sanctions are continuing to put pressure on Russian carriers, especially when it comes to the perspective of maintenance.

For example, Ural Airlines was stripped of its export privileges earlier this month by the U.S BIS.

A Temporary Denial Order (TDO) has been issued on the airline that terminates the right to participate in transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which is pertinent to exports and reexports from the United States.

It is understood that this TDO is in place for 180 days and can be renewed at any time.

Commenting on this order was the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, Matthew Axelrod:

“This Temporary Denial Order marks the tenth TDO issued against Russia and Belarus’s biggest airlines since Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine”.

“Today’s action highlights the peril and consequences of attempting to circumvent our comprehensive export controls and further impairs Russia’s aviation sector.”

And this has been exemplified elsewhere. Earlier this month, AviationSource News reported that via RadarBox data, Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport’s movements based on a seven-day rolling average have dropped 25%.

It remains clear that the pattern has emerged here.

As airlines begin to struggle with movements, so will the airports. That may seem very obvious, but that’s the truth that Russian aviation will have to contend with moving forward.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the sector will perform going into the Winter season and whether it can stay on its own two feet without more subsidies heading its way.

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