The Editor’s Corner #24 – The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive

LONDON – From what we have seen over the past few days, it is clear that the Russian aviation industry is headed for a nosedive. Welcome to the editor’s corner.

The Editor’s Corner is a guest commentary series by AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who will share his (perhaps controversial) thoughts on all things going on in the airline industry.

In case you missed the last 22, feel free to browse them before continuing reading this article:

  1. The Editor’s Corner #1: The industry isn’t ready for summer 2022 demand
  2. The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s offering for Spirit Airlines will change the dynamics of the American airline
  3. The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s damage to the aviation sector is another reason for his resignation
  4. The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY will change the market with a post-pandemic advantage
  5. The Editor’s Corner #5: Damage to Boeing 737 MAX & 787 causes 777X-based aftershock
  6. The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ plans for the future will reverse bad times
  7. The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F market is heating up…
  8. The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary aims for another cheap Boeing order
  9. The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine crisis: Aeroflot’s Turkish Airlines A350 snap could have something to do with a red carpet…
  10. The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Landlords Won’t Win Russia Battle
  11. The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines are slowly changing their minds…
  12. The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian air freight market is heating up
  13. The Editor’s Corner #13 – Video footage from RedAir Flight 203 highlights the dangers of carrying baggage during an evacuation
  14. The Editor’s Corner #14 – The Spirit Frontier JetBlue Fusion battle will be remembered as chaos
  15. The Editor’s Corner #15 – Flyr, Norse & Norwegian have a chance to capitalize on SAS’ woes
  16. The Editor’s Corner #16 – The battle between Airbus and Boeing will heat up in Farnborough
  17. The Editor’s Corner #17 – My predictions for Farnborough were spot on…
  18. The Editor’s Corner #18 – Why are airports and airlines fighting for chaos when the government is to blame?
  19. The Editor’s Corner #19 – Manchester Airport has overcome its chaotic days – but improvements are needed…
  20. The Editor’s Corner #20 – Ukraine Crisis: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s return to Russia was a mistake from the start
  21. The Editor’s Corner #21 – More than meets the eye on Emirates-United Codeshare
  22. The Editor’s Corner #22 – Israel’s Boeing 747 ban will have a massive impact on freighters
  23. The Editor’s Corner #23 – In the midst of their chaos, Qantas takes on Air New Zealand
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The Russian airline industry is headed for a nosedive that is not of its own fault but rather a result of the partial mobilization of Russian troops instigated by President Vladimir Putin.

This partial mobilization could eventually turn into full mobilization if tensions between NATO and Russia are not reduced, and will put further pressure on sectors such as the airline industry.

Are we going into oblivion? And is the Russian aviation industry headed for a nosedive?

Partial mobilization causes demand to increase in the short term…

Madness in Moscow has emerged over the past 24 hours as departures have intensified as Russian men aged 18 to 65 try to flee the country following a partial mobilization of forces by Putin.

From the late Wednesday evening hours to this writing, hundreds of flights are departing from both Moscow airports with destinations outside of Russia.

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This madness in Moscow has seen many Russian men trying to flee the country after Russian President Vladimir Putin pursued his partial mobilization plans.

Around 300,000 reservists are to be drafted into the Ukraine front in order to wage a seemingly hopeless battle on this side.

Because of this exodus, the Russian government has ordered airlines to stop selling tickets to Russian men aged 18 to 65.

This rule has an exception, but is dependent on proof of travel authorization from the Department of Defense.

Such news comes after all flights from Russia to Georgia, Turkey and Armenia sold out in minutes to flee the country from conscription.

Georgia, Turkey & Armenia are the destinations of choice which is because there are no visa requirements so an escape would have been easier in that regard.

Things will eventually collapse…

In that sense, things will eventually collapse. Although it is currently a partial mobilization, nothing prevents Putin from calling on more people to fight.

As soon as this happens, the demand for the industry will increase again through ticket sales and will collapse again in the outbound perspective anyway.

This is a dangerous game for Putin as it would effectively cripple the airline industry at the cost of winning the war in Ukraine.

Since he tells NATO leaders that he is “not bluffing,” we can only assume more deployments will take place in the coming weeks.

Refunds for mobilized Russians confirmed…

Aeroflot confirmed yesterday that conscripts will get their money back on the grounds that they can prove it to the responsible tour operator.

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They said the following in a statement:

“Conscripted citizens who purchased tickets before September 21, 2022 (inclusive) are entitled to an involuntary [outside the control of the customer] refund on the ticket”.

“To do this, you need to go personally to the point of sale of the ticket and present all the documents confirming the right to terminate the contract and get a refund of the money.”

Only so much support can Putin give to the sector…

In my opinion, there is only so much support that can be given to a sector before it either collapses or before the economy starts to take a downward turn.

And the political pressure is on Putin; not like he cares anyway. Around 50 local councilors have signed a petition calling for his resignation.

He’ll probably have her locked up or worse. Take a look at what happened at Aeroflot’s offices, which were raided after the airline’s former deputy CEO published an opinion piece via the Financial Times.

Things are going to collapse, and it’s more a matter of when than if.

Conclusion: Collapse imminent…

Collapse is definitely imminent, especially for the Russian airline sector. It’s all well and good to increase flights to Turkey and other destinations. But that won’t be enough for them.

Things get tense, like a balloon that’s being inflated too much. And things will eventually burst. The question to ask is: Which section will crumble first?

When things start to crumble, that’s the beginning of the end. I would rather things end up collapsing and maybe even your own airline industry and other sectors than the high risk of nuclear war.

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