During Russia's invasion of Ukraine, several foreign airlines have ceased flying to the country. In many cases, this has been due to Russia banning foreign airlines from its airspace in retaliation to its own carriers being banned from foreign airspace. Nonetheless, a handful of non-Russian airlines still serve the country.
Perhaps the most notable exception to the general trend of foreign airlines ceasing services to Russia is Air Serbia. The Belgrade-based flag carrier, has, in fact, been able to increase its frequencies to Moscow, due to the Serbian government's refusal to issue sanctions against Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine.
As Simple Flying reported earlier this month, this has resulted in the airline becoming a key carrier for passengers wanting to travel between Russia and the rest of Europe. Its Belgrade hub is at the heart of such connecting journeys, and frequencies almost doubled, rising from eight to 15 Moscow flights a week. However, the Serbian President has now ordered the airline to return to daily services.
These rare Russia-bound services have proven extremely popular, selling out to the extent that Air Serbia has been deploying its Airbus A330-200 widebodies on them when possible. Otherwise, data from FlightRadar24.com shows that the Airbus A319 and A320 narrowbodies have been the Serbian flag carrier's aircraft of choice.
Turkish Airlines is another foreign carrier that is yet to cease services to Russia, rendering its Istanbul base as another key hub for journeys to the country. A quick look on the airline's booking website shows that it has five scheduled departures on its Istanbul Airport (IST) - Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) route tomorrow.
While the carrier has more of a reputation for using widebodies within Europe, it is noteworthy nonetheless to see that three of these five services are set to use the Boeing 777-300ER. These sizeable twinjets are Turkish Airlines' largest aircraft in terms of passenger capacity, with 300 economy and 49 business class seats.
Perusing data on FlightRadar24, we can also see that Turkish Airlines Cargo is still flying to Moscow. At the time of writing, one of the carrier's Airbus A330-200 freighters was en route to the Russian capital from Istanbul. Interestingly, IOL notes that the airline has had to change its rules regarding selling tickets to Russian nationals, due to Mastercard and Visa blocking payment services in the country.
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Belavia's flights to Russia, a country with which Belarus shares a border, also appear to be continuing for the time being. The Belarussian flag carrier's booking website shows that it will operate five Moscow-bound departures from its Minsk National Airport (MSQ) hub tomorrow. Three will serve the Russian capital city's Domodedovo Airport (DME) with the other two going to Sheremetyevo (SVO).
Belavia also flies to a second Russian destination, namely St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport (LED). Frequencies on this route aren't quite as high as to Moscow, but Misk still has multiple daily direct connections to the city. Tomorrow's schedules have two flights listed, departing Minsk at 08:15 and 18:05 local time.
Away from Europe, a look at the online arrivals boards for key Russian hubs shows that several Asian airlines are also still serving the country. Indeed, between 13:40 and 13:50 local on Tuesday, Moscow Domodedovo will see three consecutive UAE arrivals (two Air Arabia services from Sharjah and one Emirates A380 from Dubai). El Al and Sri Lankan Airlines are also among those still serving Russia.
Do you think these airlines will continue flying to Russia? Have you ever flown with any of them? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.