Planes are seen parked at Sheremetyevo International Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues.Reuters
Owing to the coronavirus, countries have been closing their borders and suspending air links. Airlines around the world are suffering massive losses, while their aircraft are forced to stand idle at airports. As of April 20, demand for air travel in Russia has collapsed by 90 percent compared with last year, and airlines are only operating 12 percent of their flights.
Azur Air aircraft at the Moscow's Vnukovo airport.Marina Lystseva/TASS
Almost all of these consist of infrequent domestic flights, as well as repatriation flights to bring back Russian nationals who couldn’t make their own way back, or flights to take back foreigners stuck in Russia.
Aeroflot planes in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.Ilya Naimushin/Sputnik
Meanwhile, charter airlines Azur Air and Royal Flight and Russia’s only lowcoster, Pobeda, have suspended all of their flights.
Planes of the Pobeda airlines at the Vnukovo airport.Mikhail Voskresensky/Sputnik
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest air carrier, has reduced its flights within Russia and stopped selling tickets to international destinations until August (or until the situation returns to normal).
At the Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.Marina Lystseva/TASS
Russia’s second largest air carrier, S7 Airlines, has already halved its summer flight schedule.
S7 plane at the Domodedovo airport.Sergei Vedyashkin/Moskva Agency
Owing to the flight cancellations, major Russian airports have been suspending round-the-clock operations.
At the Vnukovo airport.Mikhail Voskresensky/Sputnik
The airport in Tyumen is currently only operating from 06:00 to 19:00 hours. St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport is only open from 05:30 to 23:30. Khrabrovo airport in Kaliningrad is only in operation from 07:00 to 21:00.
Schedule at the Pulkovo airport, St. Petersburg.Alexander Demianchuk/TASS
Murmansk airport, one of the biggest in northern Russia, only opens three hours before a flight (and these days, that’s not even every day). In Nizhny Novgorod, only five flights are operating a day.
Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports in the capital are handling roughly 30 flights a day at the moment, which used to be the number of departing flights in a single hour. At Vnukovo airport, there were just nine flights on April 20. Zhukovsky airport had empty arrival and departure boards on April 21.
Empty Domodedovo airport.Sergei Vedyashkin/Moskva Agency
Experts calculate that each month of standstill is costing the industry net losses of around 50 billion rubles (ca. $650 million). The state has pledged to allocate 23 billion rubles (ca. $300 million) to support air carriers.
Platov airport, Rostov-on-Don.Sergei Pivovarov/Sputnik
Regular flights have so far been cancelled until June 1, but it is not a given that after this date the airlines will be able to return to “pre-coronavirus” levels. Even if the borders are open, many people will simply be unable to afford to travel.
Missing the sky.Ilya Naimushin/Sputnik
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