Staunton, April 6 – Since the start of the pandemic, Russian air carriers have reduced the number of domestic routes from 3168 to “fewer than 400” and cut the number of international flights from 899 to just seven, according to data assembled by the Tutu.ru travel site and reported by the Kasparov.ru portal (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5E8C9FB5DA945).
Moscow’s cancellation of international flights has attracted enormous attention especially because Russians abroad have been left stranded abroad and migrant workers in Russia have not been able to return home. But its domestic cutbacks may be even more significant, leaving many parts of the country, which has few roads and rail lines, cut off (jamestown.org/program/with-ever-more-flights-canceled-many-parts-of-russia-isolated/).
As of today, there are no flights in and out of such major cities as Voronezh and Tomsk; and the remaining flights are likely between the capitals of the federal subjects rather than between them, restoring the subject of black humor in Soviet times when people complained that to go from one oblast capital in Siberia to another next door, one had to fly via Moscow.
Tutu.ru says that the cutbacks do not appear to be at an end and that even more scheduled routes are likely to be cancelled for lack of passengers as a result of stay-at-home orders and the absence of business. It seems likely that some of the smaller carriers may go bankrupt given that they use leashed planes. Consequently, there is unlikely to be any quick rebound in the future.