Aeroflot Cancels Zagreb Flights, Croatia Bans Russian Airlines

Daniela Rogulj

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Due to the Russian aggression on Ukraine, Western countries are imposing more and more sanctions on the Russian Federation. Among other things, more and more countries are banning the landing, take-off, and overflight of Russian airlines. The biggest restrictions on air traffic are expected since the end of the Cold War, reports Croatian Aviation.

An increasing number of European countries are banning Russian airline flights through their airspace, which is another blow to the Russian economy through air transport. Russia has reciprocally banned the overflight of aircraft and European countries that have introduced this restriction.

Russia’s S7 Airlines has already cut off regular flights from Russia to European countries, explaining the move as a result of the ban on overflights of many European countries, which significantly complicates the planning of operations and increases fuel consumption, given that it is no longer possible to fly the shortest route on almost all routes.

It is also expected that a decision will be made at the European Union level to ban Russian aircraft from flying over the airspace of all EU member states, leaving Russian carriers unable to find an alternative and forced to cancel all operations. Thus, in addition to the disabled passenger transport, Russia will also be unable to transport cargo, which will directly affect the business of the airline and Russian airports.

Many critics reacted and called out the European Union for not withdrawing the move and closing the European skies to Russian carriers, but the fact is that there are certainly a large number of European citizens in Russia who now want to return to their home countries as soon as possible, and the same would be completely disabled by air in the event of an EU closure.

If that happens (and it most likely will), it will be the biggest restriction on air traffic since the end of the Cold War, but the move will not benefit either side.

Most European airlines use Russian airspace when flying from Europe to Asia and vice versa, given that this is the shortest route, but several carriers have already been banned from flying over Russian airspace (or they decided to do it for security reasons), so they fly a long way between Europe and Asia, avoiding Russian airspace.

In addition to all the above, the sanctions go in the direction of banning the export of spare parts for aircraft to Russia, which will further complicate the normal conduct of operations for Russian carriers.

In the coming days we can expect further bans from other European countries, as well as a decision at the EU level, which will, first of all, force Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, to cancel almost all flights to European cities, and consequently flights from St. Petersburg and Moscow to Zagreb. Several flights from Russia to Croatian airports have been announced for the summer, with about 50 weekly flights in the peak season. If the sanctions continue to be in force, Croatian airports will compensate for the lack of passengers from Russia by increasing demand from other markets, given that further recovery in air traffic due to the global pandemic is expected.

Aeroflot closed sales on all flights between Zagreb and Moscow today until March 27, and flights for tomorrow and the day after are currently canceled. It is a logical move after Italy banned the flight of aircraft registered in Russia, so now the closest route to Aeroflot is to Zagreb via Turkey and Greece. The Government is on the move, which is expected to decide on the ban on the entry of aircraft registered in Russia into Croatian airspace, which was confirmed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. 

“The government has already made a political decision today to ban flights for our air traffic to Russian airlines. We will make appropriate decisions at the EU level. We will make a decision on the implementation of restrictive measures that will, given the dynamic situation in Ukraine, address this issue on a daily basis,” Plenković said today for

A formal decision is expected on Monday, February 28, so with the entry into force of that decision, Aeroflot will no longer be able to fly to, from, or via Croatia.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.


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