LONDON – The Russian Government has ordered airlines to stop selling tickets to Russian men aged 18 to 65 following Putin’s partial mobilization.
This rule has an exemption but is down to providing evidence of approval to travel by the Ministry of Defense.
Such news comes following all flights from Russia to the likes of Georgia, Turkey & Armenia were sold out in a matter of minutes as a way of fleeing the country from conscription.
Georgia, Turkey & Armenia are the destinations of choice, which is down to the fact that there are no visa requirements, so an escape would have been easier in that respect.
By 12 pm Moscow time, flights to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan had also been taken off the sales agenda as well.
What About The Flights Sold Already?
It remains clear that any male passengers between 18-65 years old who were able to purchase these tickets will most likely have their tickets rescinded.
With no flights available for the vast majority of the Russian population, this means that airlines in the country will now have to rely on inbound tourism.
This will place a strain further on the tourist industry in Russia, on top of what it has been experiencing already due to Western-backed sanctions caused by the Ukraine Crisis.
As for the actions by Putin, this isn’t a surprising move, given the fact that Ukraine is advancing and liberating land at an alarming rate, so Russia is going to need all the troops it can get its hands on.
Aeroflot’s International Expansion At Risk?
With Russian carrier Aeroflot wanting to resume its international expansion, more notably into Sri Lanka in recent weeks, this is going to place a further strain on the carrier in particular.
Domestic carriers will continue to benefit, no doubt, as it is just regional travel, and can probably be tracked far easier by the Russian Government.
Internationally, this means that Aeroflot, Nordwind, and others’ catchment areas will be reduced by around 25 million people in Russia alone.
Therefore, such carriers will have to place an emphasis on inbound tourism to place any sense of revenue gain looking ahead into the Winter months.
Even so, with the amount of support that the Russian Government has given to the airline industry, this is probably a loss that they can deal with for the time being.
It remains clear that the Russian airline industry is going to take a further nosedive, especially in the Winter months when demand is volatile at best.
Looking ahead, strategies must be observed by affected Russian carriers to see how else they can generate revenue from the 25 million reservists in the country, and whether there is any scope for opportunity at all.
Whatever further development happens in the Ukraine Crisis, the industry will more than likely collapse on itself, especially if sanctions bite further.
With Putin insisting he is not bluffing in this regard, this definitely shows his stance: All or nothing. And that most definitely applies to the damage to the Russian aviation industry.