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Aeroflot passenger numbers fall 20 per cent in March

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot yesterday reported a 20 per cent fall in passenger traffic in March year-on-year following tough Western sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Passenger traffic on international and domestic flights fell to 2.2 million in March, the first full month after the conflict began, from 2.77 million last year, the airline said Passenger traffic on international flights declined by half, it said in a statement.

The Aeroflot group includes the Pobeda budget airline and the Rossiya domestic airline. The Russian state owns a 57.3 stake in the group.

Aeroflot suspended all international flights from March 8, a move it said was temporary. This came after the carrier and all Russian airlines were banned from the airspace of the entire European Union (EU), Britain and Canada. In retaliation, Russia has banned airlines from these countries from flying over its territory.

Aeroflot’s passenger traffic on domestic flights has declined by 15.7 per cent as Russia’s economy shrinks.

The export of aircraft, parts and equipment to Russia has been banned, as has maintenance work on Russian-registered Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Western insurers cannot provide coverage.

An Aeroflot sign on its tickets office in central Moscow. PHOTO: AFP