Crisis in Ukraine: Nordwind Airlines to resume services to Varadero
LONDON – Russian carrier Nordwind Airlines is to resume services to Varadero, Cuba, as new routes to avoid European airspace have been established.
Nordwind will resume these services next month and will operate four times a week using the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ERs.
What we do know is that such airspace avoidance is possible, with Nordwind operating flights to Caracas from Moscow in August.
The image above shows the level of excursion he had to take. At this stage, it is unclear whether Aeroflot will follow suit with these types of flights or not, especially as they look for ways to generate additional revenue.
This announcement has been long in coming this year, with Russian news agency TASS stating the following:
“The head of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Alexander Neradko, informed the Cuban partners that in order to develop tourism between the two countries, several Russian airlines plan to resume flights to Cuba in the near future.”
Welcome news for Cuba in distress…
This news will be very welcome by the Cuban government, especially as the country’s economy continues to be in steep decline following daily breakdowns, lack of fuel and high rates of inflation.
Prior to Ukraine, the Russian-Cuban travel market was quite active and lucrative, with up to 45 flights a week from Russia.
As mentioned above, EU airspace bans imposed on Russian carriers have made it difficult for carriers to operate these flights, and with the higher fuel costs resulting from longer flight times, it will be interesting to see how well this works.
In addition to this, it shows that Russia keeps its promise to Cuba and provides financial assistance to the country through the use of tourism.
Russian carriers bite the bullet?
With these types of service reversals, is it true that Russian carriers are biting the bullet, when it comes to these extended flight times, and therefore increased fuel costs?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has provided significant financial assistance to Russian carriers, airports and manufacturers in recent months to circumvent sanctions.
It could very well be a middle finger from Putin, the financial aid allowing carriers to restart operations in markets where they can still operate.
For example, Aeroflot has announced its intention to return to Sri Lanka next month, on the strict condition that none of its planes be grounded in Colombo following the controversy that took place in June.
It remains clear that Russia is trying to do everything it can to make sure the revenue keeps flowing while the Ukraine crisis is still unfolding.
However, with the Ukrainians pushing the Russians back even further, this crisis may soon end, meaning the negotiating table will have to be used at some point.
The reason the negotiating table is mentioned here is that aviation will be an important part of it, especially if it is about allowing Russian carriers back into European airspace.