Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot has had its agreement with Sabre’s Global Distribution System, the leading flight reservation network, terminated in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Texas-based firm said of the move: “We are taking a stand against this military conflict.”
Aeroflot tailfins
Russian airlines are already banned from entering vast swaths of airspace | © Jsylee
 In practice, removal from the GDS means Russia’s largest airline will no longer be shown in its “marketplace used by travel agencies, travel websites and corporations around the world to shop, book and service flight reservations.”

Both domestic and international flights affected

The move is expected to hinder significantly the airline’s ability to sell seats, both on domestic and international flights.
R.W. Mann & Company, an industry consultancy, notes Sabre will not have terminated “automation services”:
“Sabre provides reservations, passenger services, operations, network planning and management systems. These are core automation systems, commercial, operations and planning systems, without which airlines cannot function, except minimally and manually.”
The majority government-owned carrier may opt to find an alternative provider of these services, but industry onlookers note this would be highly disruptive and could not be done overnight.

Complying with government sanctions

Sabre stressed that its suspension of Aeroflot was made in line with the most recent batch of sanctions imposed by US President Joe Biden. Amadeus, a Spanish travel IT provider, said yesterday it was also halting the issuing of Aeroflot tickets in its system, likely in line with similar EU sanctions.

“We continue to assess and evaluate the potential impact of international sanctions imposed on Russia and any counter-measures by Russia,” a statement by Amadeus said.

The steps taken to remove Aeroflot from global fare distribution systems are the latest targeted at Russia’s aviation industry. Last week, Russian aircraft were banned from vast swaths of airspace and earlier this week, manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing announced they were halting supply of goods and services to the country.

Do you agree with moves to take Aeroflot flights out of global distribution? Let us know in the comments below.

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