Airlines need to change routes between Europe and Asia

Air transport is currently involved in the escalation of sanctions against Russia and the aftershocks from the Kremlin. Airspace in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, Canada, and several other countries (37 in total) is currently closed to Russian civilian aircraft and may be exempt from humanitarian flight. I have. Russia has done the same for future devices. From these areas.Joe tonight Biden confirmed that the United States will close its airspace “on all Russian flights”

In addition to servicing Russia, the biggest problem for European airlines is the closure of Russian airspace and the ban on flights over its vast territory. Since we are going to Japan, China and South Korea, the shortest route is via Siberia. Therefore, Russia’s air traffic control controls more than 26 million kmĀ² of regions located between Europe and Asia.

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Detours over 1,500km

Today, it is no longer possible for European companies to fly over Siberia to reach Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. And given the vastness of Russia’s territory, detours to the south are not trivial. The plane should detour the Caucasus. The Caucasus mandates a re-descent at Turkish levels, extending flight time by approximately 1.500 km, or at least two hours.

Flights to northern India and Southeast Asia are also affected, but not so much. Given the soaring price of kerosene, the additional costs are not negligible for European companies.

Finnair has already announced that it is ideally located in Northern Europe to serve Asia and will be affected by the closure of the Trans-Siberian Route. The Finnish company is already considering new savings plans (after being implemented due to the health crisis) in case the situation continues.

The weight of servicing Asia is much greater for European airlines than for Russia, and conversely the weight of servicing Russia for Russian airlines is greater. Prior to the health crisis, the Far East accounted for about 6% of European Union traffic, and the Indian subcontinent accounted for about 1% with about 33 million passengers annually.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, traffic volume has dropped significantly and then significantly. Japan has just reopened its borders after almost continuous closure for two years, South Korea continues to strictly regulate arrivals, and China has a “zero-covid” strategy.

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The end of Russia’s juicy royalties

Meanwhile, it is also a heavenly blessing to fly away for Russia. So far, the country has not hesitated to very limit the number of companies allowed to fly over its territory. This access is very expensive in the royalty system. A few years ago, it was a $ 350 million plunge, much of it directed at Aeroflot. According to some estimates, this could have accounted for almost 20% of his income at the time.

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Increasingly domestic traffic

According to the Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia, Russian companies transported 111 million passengers in 2021. In other words, it was 87% of the traffic volume in 2019, but the advantage of domestic flights is increasing. In fact, this total includes just over 21% of international travelers, and even excluding traffic to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it is only 15%. In 2019, this share was 43% (38% excluding CIS).

We need to add to the traffic of Russian companies the traffic of foreign companies, mainly to Moscow and St. Petersburg, which accounted for about 20 million passengers before the crisis.

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Trade with Europe at the forefront

In 2018, trade with Europe was Russia’s major international market. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than two-thirds of international transportation to Russian airports comes from the Old World, well above the Asia-Pacific (22 million) and the Middle East, with 52 million people annually. The above travelers are visiting. East (1.4 million). Flights from North America did not exceed 600,000 passengers.

These passengers came primarily from Ukraine, despite the tensions that had already existed since the 2014 Crimean Crisis and the War in Donbas. Then came Kazakhstan, China, and Finland. Nevertheless, the first international route was between Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport and Paris-CDG. There were many connections with Germany and Spain, and there were about 30 routes in each of these countries for a dozen with France. As far as freight is concerned, Russia’s main axes are China, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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2014 precedent

Russian companies will still feel the effects of sanctions as they are less exposed than they were a few years ago, as they have focused primarily on domestic and regional transportation to and from the former Soviet Union since the health crisis. European.

This was already the case in 2014 with the second Russian company, Transaero. It was more international than its competitors and suffered from the full power of the restrictions imposed following the annexation of the Crimea and the collapse of the ruble. She was sacrificed by the Kremlin at the end of 2015 for the benefit of the state-owned Aeroflot. That year, the international traffic of Russian companies also fell by more than 15%.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s air transport had already taken about 20 years to rebuild, especially through the purchase of western aircraft, Boeing and Airbus. The reopening has been done since the 2010s. Prior to the crisis, IATA estimated that the sector contributed $ 23 billion to Russia’s GDP, or 1.8% of the total. Similarly, this sector has created 1 million jobs, including 300,000 direct jobs. Air transportation is also a tourist entry vector, with estimated spending of $ 9 billion. And according to the trends at that time, growth of more than 75% is expected in 20 years.

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Problems of the people left behind

As a side effect of traffic outages, Russians and Europeans will find themselves stuck abroad. Russian authorities are currently calling on people who want to go to Europe or return to Russia to pass through a third country that has not taken action against Russian companies. The press release cites Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and even Turkey. Similarly, air travel to border countries encourages multi-modality, and land use means entering the territory of the Russian Federation or Belarus.