Crisis in Ukraine: Russian airlines expected to carry 103 million passengers in 2023

LONDON – Despite the sanctions that are hitting the region hard, Rosaviatsia estimates that Russian carriers could carry up to 103 million passengers in 2023.

The Russian regulator estimates that 91.1 million of these flights will be handled on domestic routes, while 10.1 million will be handled on the limited international network these carriers already have.

For more information, Vladimir Poteshkin, Deputy Director of the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsie):

“The planned amount of funds to be allocated from the federal budget to implement the subsidy program [in 2023] will be maintained at this year’s level – this is about 27.5 billion rubles. […] In the same vein, it is planned to expand the program of subsidies to Russian airlines to carry out domestic transport, including local, within the framework of Government Resolution No. 761 in 2023”,

“The government support measures listed will help achieve transport figures for 2023; as has already been said, traffic volumes have already been determined until 2030 in the strategy, and therefore the plan for 2023 is 103 million passengers”.

Passenger traffic has fallen 10% so far this year, with Rosaviatsia predicting around 100 million passengers will be handled by the end of the year.

However, pre-COVID and pre-Ukraine about 128 million passengers were processed, so you can definitely see the drop that has happened because of the conflict.

Things will get harder…

Sanctions continue to put pressure on Russian carriers, especially from a maintenance perspective.

For instance, Ural Airlines was stripped of its export privileges earlier this month by the US BRI.

A Temporary Denial Order (TDO) has been issued to the airline terminating the right to participate in transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which apply to exports and re-exports from the United States -United.

It is understood that this TDO is in place for 180 days and can be renewed at any time.

Commenting on the order, Commerce Undersecretary for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod:

“This temporary denial order marks the tenth TDO issued against the largest Russian and Belarusian airlines since Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.”

“Today’s action highlights the danger and consequences of attempting to circumvent our comprehensive export controls and further harm Russia’s aviation sector.”

And this has been illustrated elsewhere. Earlier this month, News AviationSource reported that via RadarBox data, Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport movements based on a seven-day rolling average fell by 25%.

It remains clear that the pattern emerged here.

As airlines begin to struggle with movement, so do airports. This may seem very obvious, but it is the truth that Russian aviation will have to face moving forward.

It will be interesting to see how the sector performs as the winter season approaches and whether it can stay on its own feet without more subsidies heading its way.

Christi C. Elwood