Russia fully halts international flights amid coronavirus
MOSCOW. KAZINFORM - Russia has fully suspended regular and charter international flights since Friday and airlines will only perform flights to bring Russians back home, according to a decision announced by the board of the government’s coordination council.
The move comes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic declared by the World Health Organization and its rapid spread in 170 countries in the world, including Russia.
A spokesperson for the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency noted that the ban on performing flights from Russia overseas did not refer to cargo, postal, sanitary and humanitarian shipment.
TASS reported that R ussia started suspending international flights since February 1. The restrictions were introduced in several stages. At first flights were limited to China, South Korea and a number of other countries, and then to Spain, Italy, Germany and France. In a few days, flights to entire Europe were banned. The most massive ban on flights was announced on March 23, targeting 95 countries. In all cases, flights were allowed only from Terminal F of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to the capitals of the closed countries.
Until recently, Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot continued regular flights to several capitals. Earlier, Aeroflot told TASS that the restrictions concerned 92 out of 94 international routes of the airline. Aeroflot evacuated more than 52,000 people on March 14-25 to Russia.
Russia’s second largest airline S7 earlier fully halted its international flights but it still continues flights to evacuate citizens. Russia’s airlines Pobeda and Utair have fully stopped international flights. The country’s major charter airline Azur Air earlier reported that it would stop sending Russian tourists overseas from March 22 until April 20.