Aeroflot to Boost Domestic Flights amid International Shutdown

Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot is planning to operate around 1,000 weekly flights (500 rotations) in May – all from Moscow – to 56 cities around Russia, the company has announced, according to Russian Aviation Insider. This is twice as many as in April although, before the Coronavirus crisis, the airline was operating 3,000 domestic flights per week.

According to its newly published schedule, Aeroflot is to make on average 140 flights per day – double that of its April offering. In April the airline chose to reduce its services to between 70 and 80 daily flights, having completely suspended services to several destinations including to Arkhangelsk, Grozny, Kemerovo, Nizhnekamsk, Saratov, Voronezh, and other regional cities. Frequencies on some other routes were reduced to just one weekly flight, including destinations such as Barnaul, Gelendzhik, Khanty-Mansiysk, and Yakutsk.

Currently, many regions are maintaining a 14-day quarantine period for passengers arriving from Moscow, with the capital being the nation’s most Covid-19-hit city.

Notably, it is the first time in modern history that the national carrier has been surpassed by its privately owned rival S7 Airlines, which is currently operating between 110 and 130 domestic flights per day.

S7 Airlines left a large number of domestic flights in its schedule because it operates out of the two bases of Moscow and its Novosibirsk, west Siberian home. The demand for direct travel between regional centers has not plunged as drastically as Moscow, which remains under a stringent quarantine lockdown regime. Before the pandemic, S7 Airlines operated some 300 flights per day on average.

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