From 6 March, flights from Russian airlines to Azerbaijan are suspended indefinitely. 

This was due to a recommendation from the Federal Air Transport Agency and their concern surrounding the risks of flying internationally. 

Why was this decision made?

Interestingly, the decision was made with little influence from the situation in Russia and the complexities surrounding air travel in Russian airspace, something other airlines (such as Finnair) have been struggling with significantly over the past week. Instead, the decision was mainly made due to recent changes in the international aviation insurance and reinsurance market related to sanctions. 

These changes greatly affected the typical activities of Azerbaijan’s national air carriers, forcing AZAL (the National Air Carrier of Azerbaijan) and insurance companies to pause and re-evaluate amidst the changed situation. 

The lack of complete insurance when making international flights creates unnecessary risk for travellers, airlines, and other legal entities, hence why AZAL and Buta Airways were not prepared to take any risk by continuing to run international flights. 

The suspension of all flights to cities of the Russian Federation will begin from 8 am on 6 March. 

Passengers of cancelled flights are able to change the date of their departure or refund their tickets without any added costs or penalties. 

AZAL and Buta Airways are in a unique situation in that they’re the online airline carriers to recently suspend flights to Russian cities, not as a direct response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

From 27 February, however, Azerbaijan Air Navigation Services said it will open up alternative air traffic routes for international airlines looking to avoid Russian airspace without adding huge diversions to flights.

What do you think of this decision? How does it impact your travels? Let us know!

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