On Monday, Cyprus Airways announced that travelers would have to wait a little longer for its new weekly Larnaca to Moscow Domodedovo service. The reason? The Federal Air Transport Agency has prohibited the airline from carrying passengers to the Russian Federation. However, the return flight from Moscow to Larnaca is operating as planned.
No disembarking at Domodedovo
Cyprus Airways had scheduled a new service from Cyprus‘ third-largest city to the Russian capital from late November. However, the carrier has withdrawn the sale of tickets on the Larnaca to Moscow route as Rosaviatsia, the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia, has placed restrictions on the airline.
These state that Cyprus Airways is not allowed to disembark passengers in the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, it is allowed to pick them up, which means that there is no issue with Moscow to Larnaca flights.
“We are extremely disappointed with the discrimination and unfair treatment of the Russian authorities against Cyprus Airways, taking into consideration that two Russian air carriers recently started operations on the route Moscow-Larnaca-Moscow without having similar restrictions by the Russian authorities,” George Mavrocostas, Chief Operations Officer of the airline told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.
Passenger-less inaugural flight
The first Cyprus Airways Larnaca to Moscow flight took place as planned on November 19th, only without passengers. According to Aviaport, passengers on flight CY486 were only told they would not be going to Russia half an hour before departure. The plane took off anyway, and the return operated like any other scheduled commercial service.
Citing unequal treatment
Cyprus Airways is hoping that the Cypriotic government may intervene, as it says the decision of Rosaviatsia is violating equal treatment for carriers according to bilateral air service agreements. The two Russian carriers Mr Mavrocostas referred to in his statement above to are the Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot and its low-cost branch Pobeda.
The reason presented by Rosaviatsia, according to Aviaport, was that Cyprus Airways had failed to provide a list of passengers along with its request for permission to operate the first flight on November 19th.
Cyprus Airways has operated one more service according to the same semi-ghost flight regime on Thursday last week, November 26th. The next one is scheduled for December 3rd.
A fleet of two A319s
The flights between Moscow and Larnaca are operated by one of Cyprus’ Airways’ two Airbus A319-100s, 5B-DCW. Along with its sibling, 5B-DCX, they make up the entirety of the Cyprus Airways fleet. Both aircraft are close to 22 years old and have flown for Northwest Airlines and S7 prior to arriving in Cyprus. The carrier has previously operated flights to Russia, flying from its Larnaca base to St Petersburg.
What do you make of the Russian authority’s passenger ban for Cyprus Airways? Unfair treatment or reasonable precautions during these times? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.