Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot suspended from SkyTeam alliance

Apr 27, 2022

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

Aeroflot, the largest airline in Russia and the nation’s flag carrier, has been suspended from the SkyTeam alliance in response to its home country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, the alliance noted that the suspension was temporary.

“SkyTeam and Aeroflot have agreed to temporarily suspend the airline’s SkyTeam membership,” the SkyTeam statement read. “We are working to limit the impact for customers and will inform those affected by any changes to SkyTeam benefits and services.”

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The move comes a week after Russia’s second-largest airline, S7, was suspended from the Oneworld alliance.

This suspension was a long time coming. In February, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, alliance heavyweights Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM all ended codeshares and other cooperation with Aeroflot.

Suspending Aeroflot from SkyTeam and S7 from Oneworld further ostracizes Russia in the global aviation market. Much of the world’s airspace is now closed to Russian operators as a diplomatic response to the war. Russia has also nationalized its civil aviation fleet — effectively stealing aircraft from lessors.

Aeroflot’s April 2022 route network. (Screenshot from Cirium)

As with other Russian airlines, Aeroflot has largely become a domestic airline as a result of the airspace closures and the leasing issues. However, it does operate limited international routes to countries that haven’t closed their airspace to Russia. Still, it’s a stark contrast to the airline’s network prior to the war, which included routes throughout Europe, the U.S. and the Caribbean.

More: Russian airline S7 suspended from Oneworld alliance

Aeroflot joined the alliance in the mid-2000s, as the country’s aviation market was then-rapidly growing and the airline was quickly modernizing its fleet with western-built aircraft. The relationship did have some speed bumps, including the airline’s 2013 threat to leave the alliance.

For now, Aeroflot’s suspension from the SkyTeam alliance is yet another setback for Russia’s aviation market — albeit a largely symbolic one. The country now lacks any airlines that participate in global airline alliances.

Featured photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images.

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