Russia restricts air service with Turkey and suspends flights to Tanzania from Thursday, April 15 to June 1 in line with the decision of the federal anti-coronavirus crisis center, TASS reports.
Thus, all cargo, passenger and chartered flights and nearly all regular flights between Russia and Turkey will be suspended, with only two regular flights between Moscow and Istanbul being performed a week by a Russian air company and two such flights – by a Turkish air carrier. Russia’s flagship air carrier Aeroflot already said it would continue regular flights to Istanbul twice a week.
Apart from that, the crisis center has allowed chartered flights to ensure continuation of the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant.
According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, air service with Tanzania and Turkey will be resumed as soon as the coronavirus situation in those countries stabilizes.
This is not the first case of repeated suspension of air service with foreign countries amid the pandemic. Thus, flights to the United Kingdom were suspended until April 16 in a bid to minimize risks of imports of a new coronavirus strain.
Meanwhile, Golikova noted that Russian nationals staying in Turkey would be able to return home by chartered flights. Regular flights to Turkey were performed by eight Russian air carriers, namely Aeroflot, Pobeda, Rossiya, S7, Nordwind, UTair (the only air company flying not from Moscow and St. Petersburg, but from Grozny), Azur Air, and Ural Airlines. Flights from Turkey to Russia were operated by Turkish Airlines, Corendon Airlines, and Pegasus Airlines.
By now, Aeroflot, Pobeda and S7 have already drawn schedules of return flights. Most of the air companies have already pledged to return money for cancelled flights without any penalties.
Flights to Tanzania were performed by UTair and Azur Air.
It has not been disclosed how many Russian nationals might have problems because of the restrictions of air service with Turkey. However, President of the Russian Union of the Travel Industry Andrei Ignatyev said that as of Tuesday around 30,000 Russian tourists were vacationing in Turkey, with this number including only those who had vouchers from travel companies. Several hundreds of Russian tourists, according to experts, are staying on Zanzibar.
According to the Kommersand daily, from 60,000 to 70,000 Russian nationals, who had connecting flights in Turkey, may have problems with the return to Russia.