UAE, Turkey had maximum flights to Russia
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey had the maximum flights operating into Russia between March 1 and March 17, according to an analysis by VesselsValue.
"Over the last 17 days, we saw that most routes into Russia have been from the United Arab Emirates with Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Vnukovo International Airport (VKO) being the most heavily serviced route," the report said. The most popular airframe between DXB and VKO was the 737-800, performing 54 out of the 73 flights.
Running a very close second are services from Turkey, the report added.
Flash back 2021: Turkey occupied the top spot by a wide margin, followed by Germany and Armenia.
"Turkish Airlines and Pobeda were the only operators using the route IST to VKO between March 1 and March 17, 2021, operating 101 flights between them," the report said.
The same period in 2022 saw 90 flights on the route with service from Russian carriers Aeroflot and Pobeda, both with Boeing 737-800s, alongside Turkish Airlines.
"However, Pobeda then dropped the route on March 6, 2022 followed by Aeroflot that dropped the same route on March 7, 2022 in response to Russian authorities' advice to cease flying aircraft outside Russia."
Comparing the two time periods, it is clear that there has been a sharp increase in services from the UAE to 237 flights between March 1-17, 2022 from 57 flights between March 1-17, 2021.
Western sanctions have significantly changed flight connectivity and routing patterns into and out of Russia, the report said. "It is also clear that connectivity to Russia has not been choked off completely with Turkey and now the United Arab Emirates acting as the main global gateways. The reciprocal closure of airspace has also disrupted both Russian and non- Russian traffic flows, adding significant travel time and fuel burn to affected flights."
"Aviation has been under the most incredible pressure even after we started to see the utilisation of the fleet increasing and repairing after Covid-19," says Paul Saupe, ADS-B Analyst, who authored the report. "With the ongoing tensions in Russia, airlines are having to plan their routes accordingly to ensure they are giving Ukraine and neighbouring countries a wide berth.
"As mentioned in the article, route changes increase the fuel burn of aircrafts, with a 14-year high on jet fuel prices, and the burden will start to seem unbearable and unsustainable for some airlines to carry on. It wouldn't be a surprise to see an airline or two suspend operations completely or come up for sale.
"Aircrafts being sanctioned could put a very big hole in the pockets of some investors. A consequence of this could be that fleet and route planners for airlines will have a very difficult time ahead amidst uncertainty."
Associate Editor, STAT Media Group. He has worked with IndiaSpend, Bloomberg TV, Business Standard and Indian Express Group. Jyothi can be reached at email@example.com