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More Russian airlines are feeling the heat from the country’s war against Ukraine.
Just days after a Russian airline was suspended from the Oneworld alliance, SkyTeam has announced Russia’s largest airline has also been suspended from its alliance.
Here’s what you need to know.
SkyTeam Temporarily Suspends Aeroflot’s Membership
The SkyTeam alliance, 1 of the 3 major airline alliances comprised of more than a dozen carriers, has announced that it has agreed to “temporarily suspend” membership with Russia’s Aeroflot.
“SkyTeam and Aeroflot have agreed to temporarily suspend the airline’s SkyTeam membership,” SkyTeam announced on its website on April 27, 2022.
“We are working to limit the impact for customers and will inform those affected by any changes to SkyTeam benefits and services,” the statement continued.
Aeroflot is one of Russia’s oldest and most recognizable airlines and joined the SkyTeam alliance in the spring of 2006. The airline carried more than 21 million passengers in 2021 and serves more than 300 scheduled routes.
With Aeroflot’s suspension, passengers on its flights will not receive SkyTeam elite benefits such as priority reservation waitlist, preferred seating, priority check-in counters, priority boarding, or extra baggage allowance.
Further Impact to Russia’s Travel Industry
This announcement comes just a week after Russia’s S7 Airlines — one of the country’s largest carriers — announced that it had been suspended from membership with Oneworld. As we reported last week, S7 cited “restrictions on international flights” for the move.
“S7 Airlines and Oneworld have agreed to a suspension of S7 Airlines’ membership in the alliance effective 19 April 2022, until further notice,” S7 stated last week.
S7 travelers will not be able to earn and redeem points on Oneworld airlines or be able to take advantage of perks like lounge access and priority check-in.
The Biden administration has sought to punish the Kremlin for invading Ukraine with travel sanctions. In President Biden’s State of the Union address in March, he announced that U.S. airspace would be closed to Russian aircraft, putting a crippling blow to flights between the 2 countries. Aeroflot until recently offered nonstop flights between Moscow (SVO) and New York (JFK).
“I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy,” Biden said at the time.
Hotels and other travel companies have also distanced themselves from Russia amid the war. Radisson Hotels announced last month that it was suspending new investments in Russia, and Airbnb has suspended operations entirely.
This move likely won’t have much impact unless you’re flying Aeroflot in the future. But it does point to how it’s becoming a lot more challenging to travel on Russian airlines.
With the suspension, you won’t be able to access certain SkyTeam perks like lounge access or priority boarding. So if you have travel planned on Aeroflot, you should probably plan ahead for your entire travel journey long before leaving home.
Featured Image Credit: Aeroflot
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