The Editor’s Corner #24 – The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive

Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – It’s clear that from what we have seen in the last few days, the Russian airline industry is heading for a nosedive. Welcome to The Editor’s Corner.

The Editor’s Corner is an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.

In case you have missed the last 22, feel free to browse through them before you continue to read this piece:

  1. The Editor’s Corner #1: The Industry Isn’t Ready for Summer 2022 Demand
  2. The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s Offer for Spirit Airlines Will Change The American Airline Dynamic
  3. The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
  4. The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge
  5. The Editor’s Corner #5: Detriment of the Boeing 737 MAX & 787 Is Causing a 777X-Based Aftershock
  6. The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ Plans For The Future Will Turn Around Negative Times
  7. The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F Market Is Hotting Up…
  8. The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary Is Gunning For Another Cheap Boeing Order
  9. The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine Crisis: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Snap-Up from Aeroflot May Have Something To Do With A Red Carpet…
  10. The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Lessors Will Not Win The Russia Battle
  11. The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines Are Slowly Changing Their Mind…
  12. The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up
  13. The Editor’s Corner #13 – Video Footage From RedAir Flight 203 Highlights Dangers of Carrying Luggage During an Evacuation
  14. The Editor’s Corner #14 – The Spirit-Frontier-JetBlue Battle for Merger Will Be Remembered As A Mess
  15. The Editor’s Corner #15 – Flyr, Norse & Norwegian Have Opportunity to Capitalise on SAS’ Woes
  16. The Editor’s Corner #16 – The Airbus & Boeing Battle Will Heat Up At Farnborough
  17. The Editor’s Corner #17 – My Predictions for Farnborough Were Well Off…
  18. The Editor’s Corner #18 – Why Do Airports & Airlines Fight Over Chaos When Government is to Blame?
  19. The Editor’s Corner #19 – Manchester Airport Has Resolved Its Chaotic Period – But Improvements Are Needed…
  20. The Editor’s Corner #20 – Ukraine Crisis: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s Russia Return Was A Mistake From The Get-Go
  21. The Editor’s Corner #21 – More Than Meets The Eye to The Emirates-United Codeshare
  22. The Editor’s Corner #22 – Israel Banning Boeing 747s Will Have Massive Impact on Cargo Operators
  23. The Editor’s Corner #23 – Amid Their Chaos, Qantas Is Taking The Fight to Air New Zealand

The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive

The Russian airline industry is heading for a nosedive, which is no fault of its own, but more down to the partial mobilization of Russian troops instigated by President Vladimir Putin.

This partial mobilization could eventually turn into a full mobilization if tensions are not eased between NATO and Russia, and will put further pressure on sectors such as the aviation industry.

Are we headed into oblivion? And is the Russian Airline Industry heading for a nosedive?

Partial Mobilization Causes Short Rise in Demand…

Madness in Moscow has occurred in the last 24 hours as departures have intensified as Russian men aged 18-65 look to escape the country following part mobilization of forces by Putin.

From the late hours of Wednesday evening to even as we write, hundreds of flights are leaving both Moscow airports bound for anywhere but Russia.

This Madness in Moscow has seen many Russian men try and escape the country following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization plans.

Around 300,000 reservists are to be drafted to the front line of Ukraine to fight what appears to be a losing battle on that side.

Because of this exodus, the Russian Government has ordered airlines to stop selling tickets to Russian men aged 18 to 65.

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.

Things Will Come Crashing Down Eventually…

With this in mind, things will come crashing down eventually. Despite this being a partial mobilization at present, there is nothing to stop Putin from calling up more people to the fight.

Once that happens, we will see demand for the industry rise again through ticket sales, and will come crashing down once again on the outbound perspective anyway.

This is a dangerous game for Putin to play, as it would effectively mean crippling the airline industry at the expense of winning the war in Ukraine.

With him saying that he “isn’t bluffing” to NATO leaders, we can only assume that more deployment is due to take place in the coming weeks ahead.

Refunds for Mobilized Russians Confirmed…

Yesterday, it was confirmed by Aeroflot that citizens subject to conscription would have their money returned to them, on the grounds that they can prove it to the relevant travel operator.

They said the following in a statement:

“Citizens subject to conscription who purchased tickets before September 21, 2022 (inclusive) are entitled to an involuntary [outside the control of the customer] refund on the ticket”.

“To do this, you must personally contact the place of purchase of the ticket and present any of the documents confirming the right to terminate the contract and receive a return of the funds”.

Only So Much Support Putin Can Give For The Sector…

In my opinion, there is only so much support that you can give to a sector before it either collapses on itself or before the economy banks downward.

And the political pressure is on Putin; not like he cares anyway. Around 50 municipal deputies have signed a petition demanding his resignation.

He will probably have them imprisoned, or worse. Take a look at what happened at the Aeroflot offices, which got raided due to an opinion piece being released by the former deputy CEO of the carrier via the Financial Times.

Things are going to come crashing down, and it’s a question of when, rather than whether.

Overall: Collapse is Imminent…

Collapse is definitely imminent, especially for the Russian airline sector. It’s all well and good increasing flights to Turkey and select other destinations. But this will not be enough for them.

Things are tensing up, like a balloon that is being inflated too much. And things will pop eventually. The question to ask is: Which section will crumble first?

Once things begin to crumble, then that is the beginning of the end. I would rather have things crumble in the end, and maybe even their own airline industry and other sectors, rather than the high risk of nuclear war.

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