Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow has closed a major terminal in response to the restrictions imposed on the Russian aviation industry.

Terminal D, which opened in 2009 as a hub for Russian flag carrier Aeroflot and its SkyTeam partners, will suspend all commercial operations from Tuesday 15th March, according to a statement released by the airport.

For international flights both arriving and departing, airlines still operating services have been transferred from Terminal D to C – these include Aeroflot, Air Armenia, Air India, Air Serbia, Belavia, Cham Wings Airlines, Corendon Airlines, Korean Air, Mongolian Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.

Belgrade new hub for east-west travel

Despite restrictions imposed across the EU banning Russian aircraft from its airspace, travellers wishing to visit or return to Russia are still able to do so relatively easily, via Serbia.

The country’s capital, Belgrade, has in recent weeks and as a result of the bans become a prime hub for connections between the east and west.

Air Serbia plane landing
Air Serbia has experienced significantly increased demand for Russian services as it remains one of the few European airlines still operating in the region amid the crisis in Ukraine | © Aeroprints.com

The country has strong cultural links with Russia and last week its capital witnessed marches in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The country’s reluctance to impose any restrictions on Russia is not likely to sit well with the EU or NATO, both of which are negotiating Serbia’s application for membership.

Domestic travel enough?

Russia’s capital Moscow is served by four international airports, with Sheremetyevo by far the largest. Whether or not its decision to reduce the size of its operations will be followed by similar moves at other airports in the region is yet to be seen.

Whilst Russia does enjoy a strong domestic aviation market, the reduction in international traffic is likely to have a significant impact. Officials will be hoping that it will be enough to keep its aviation industry ticking over for the time being.

Do you see more airport facilities closing in the wake of the crisis crippling Russia’s aviation industry? Let us know in the comments below.

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