DestinationsRussian airlines have been barred from entering almost 40 countries, while more cruise ships and tour operators avoid the country entirely.

The travel fallouts from Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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More ripple effects are expected in the travel industry as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to drag out.
More ripple effects are expected in the travel industry as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to drag out. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/Aquir

Just as international travel was ramping up, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has thrown a spanner in the works, and both the industry and its travellers are battening down the hatches.

Airlines distance themselves from Russia

The UK, EU and US have since imposed airspace restrictions surrounding commercial and private-owned planes from Russia. Following which, Russia banned incoming flights from 36 countries’ airlines.

Delta Airlines suspended its codeshare agreement with Russian national carrier Aeroflot, and the UK has banned its commercial airlines from Russian airspace. In response, Russia retaliated by banning British carriers.

Lufthansa, Germany’s national airline, has announced the suspension of flights to and from Russia, and will also avoid flying into Russian airspace for its other routes.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines has suspended flights between Singapore and Moscow indefinitely.

More airlines are taking the precaution of avoiding aviation activity over western Russia, and have devised alternate flight paths away from Russian and Ukrainian airspace. However, this will drive up fuel costs which will lead to an increase in airfares.

Spike in flight cancellations

ForwardKeys revealed that the Russia-Ukraine war has led to widespread flight cancellations to and from Russia.

On 25 February, the day following the beginning of Russia’s invasion, for every new booking that was made for inbound travel to Russia came six cancellations of pre-existing bookings. Markets exhibiting the highest cancellation rates came from Germany (773%), France (472%), Italy (152%), the UK (254%), India (285%), and Turkey (116%).

Similarly on the other end, Russian outbound travel has been hit by the impact of the war. Prior to the war, outbound flight bookings for March, April and May recovered to 32% of pre-pandemic levels, however from the period of 24 to 26 February, many of those advanced bookings were dropped. Destinations that suffered most from the blow were Cyprus (300%), Egypt (234%), Turkey (153%), the UK (153%), Armenia (200%), and Maldives (165%).

Cruise lines cancel stops in Russia

Some of the world’s largest cruise lines are cancelling their planned stops in Russia ports, citing safety concerns and to protect the invasion of Ukraine. Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises and Carnival Corporation have modified their itineraries and remove calls to Russia in its imminent sailings.

Sabre and Amadeus end distribution of Aeroflot flights

Sabre has taken a stand against the military conflict and has ceased providing distribution services to Aeroflot, essentially preventing the Russian flag carrier from selling tickets. Amadeus IT Group has similarly followed suit in pulling Aeroflot fares from its reservation systems.

Travel agencies cancels trips to Russia

Travel agencies have also joined the fray in taking a stand against Russia. Expedia Group has ceased offering travel to and from Russia, including its Vrbo vacation rental unit. GetYour Guide, a Germany-based tours and activities company, has stopped its marketing activities in the region as well.

Canada-based G Adventures, an operator of small-group escorted tours, has shelved its Russia trips for the remainder of 2022 and cancelled 25 trips scheduled for Russia over this year and the next.

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