Russia’s flagship carrier, Aeroflot, has resumed flying into London this weekend. Flights will also restart to Istanbul and Antalya. These flights follow a tentative foray by Aeroflot to some closer countries. The flights mark a return to international service for an airline that carried nearly 20 million passengers last year.
Russia’s flagship airline stretching its wings again
In April, Aeroflot suspended sales on its international flights. It followed Russia implementing a nationwide ban on international air travel. Aeroflot has operated several repatriation flights since then but virtually no scheduled international flights.
However, over the past few weeks, Aeroflot has operated some flights to nearby cities. The airline has scheduled flights from Moscow to Belgrade, Ljubljana, Tivat, and Split. This weekend, in addition to ramping up the frequencies to these cities, Aeroflot is stretching its wings and resuming flights to the United Kingdom and Turkey.
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Flights to London resuming this weekend
Beginning August 1, Aeroflot will run a daily mid-morning service from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to London Heathrow. A Boeing 777-300ER will operate the four-hour flight. The return flight will leave London at lunchtime and touchdown in Moscow early in the evening.
On Saturdays, there will be an additional flight. A post-lunch departure will touch down in London later in the afternoon. The return flight will leave London just before dinner time with a later evening arrival into Moscow. A Boeing 777-300ER will also operate this flight.
Aeroflot flights to Turkey also resuming
Multiple daily services are also resuming between Moscow and Istanbul this weekend. A statement provided by Aeroflot has services heading down to Istanbul resuming from this August 1. But the return services are not operating for a further week. Simple Flying has reached out to Aeroflot to clarify this but has not yet received a response.
Heading down to Istanbul, there is a choice of breakfast, mid-morning and mid-evening departures. Aeroflot’s A321 aircraft will operate these flights. Flying time is just shy of four hours. Heading back, there is a choice of lunchtime, mid-afternoon, and an early hours departure from Istanbul.
There will be three return services a day between Moscow and Antalya beginning August 10. There are mid-morning, late afternoon, and mid-evening departures from Moscow. Boeing 777-300ERs will operate the mid-morning and late afternoon flights while the evening flight will be operated by a 737-800.
The return flights from Antalya will depart mid-afternoon, mid-evening, and in the early hours. A 737-800 will operate the early hours’ flight while the 777-300ER handles the mid-afternoon and mid-evening flights.
A return to international flying for Aeroflot
Aeroflot notes that these services may change subject to demand and the challenges of operating international services in 2020. The airline also notes that passengers booked on previously scheduled flights to Istanbul and Antalya that have been canceled may re-book onto the new services. The airline states that re-bookings will be at no additional cost subject to the passenger traveling in the same cabin as initially booked and paid for.
The embattled airline is keen to get back in the air. Despite assistance from the Russian Government, the travel downturn hit Aeroflot hard. These initial international flights mark the first foray in what Aeroflot hopes will be a broader rollout of route resumptions.