Airlines Cut Routes to Moscow As Isolation Grows
In 2012, easyJet the discount airline based in Britain beat Virgin Atlantic Airways in a competition for the right to fly from Gatwick in London toe Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, a route that was available when a merger swallowed up its prior operator.
Aviation regulators in Britain gave easyJet the nod, which hailed the regulators decision as a big milestone in its development internationally.
Now, the airline has scaled its flights back between London and Moscow from two per day to just one in each direction. This move, which took effect late in January, was due to the lowering of demand both to and from Russia, said a spokesperson from the airline.
The discount airline is one of a number of airlines cutting back flights to Russia and delaying plans for expansion, as the amount of Russian taking vacations abroad had plunged and fewer business people from other countries and tourists are visiting Russia.
For easyJet, it is just a simple case of supply and demand. However, the reduced amount of air traffic at the international airports in Russia mirrors the growing political isolation of the country and its weakened clout economically, as the sanctions by the West and lower prices of oil push the country into recession.
Once rundown airports like Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo were emblems of the booming economy in Russia during the majority of the tenure of Vladimir Putin.
All of the airports underwent renovations to help accommodate the increased traffic that had quadrupled since 2000 to reach 77 million passengers during 2014, which exceeded international hubs such as Dubai and London’s Heathrow. Those new terminals across Moscow have become much quieter of late.
Delta Air Lines on Wednesday announced it would suspend its service to Moscow over the last three months of 2015, which means not passenger carrier from the U.S. will fly to the capital of Russia during that three-month period.