Foreign airlines started to cancel flights to Moscow this week due to the sanctions against Russia from the West and the failing ruble. On Saturday, President Vladimir Putin said in public statements that Russia is more than ready to work closely with the United States.
In January, British discount airline EasyJet “scaled back its London-Moscow service, from two daily flights to only one in each direction.” The company claimed the move was due to a lower demand. Hong-Kong based Cathay Pacific will end all service to Moscow in June while, Air India only uses two flights a week. Etihad, Qatar, and Czech Airlines also chose to eliminate some routes to Moscow.
US airline Delta announced a major reduction in the number of international trips, which is another blow to struggling Russia. The airline will not fly to Moscow in the winter, which means “no U.S. passenger carrier will fly there during that period.”
“To address currency headwinds, Delta plans to reduce its international capacity by 3 per cent year over year for the winter schedule,” the company said in a statement. “Key actions for the December quarter will include a 15-20 per cent reduction in service from Japan, a 15 per cent reduction to Brazil, a 15-20 per cent reduction to Africa, India and the Middle East, and suspension of service to Moscow for the winter season.”
The US dollar continues to gain strength while Russia’s economy spirals out of control. The ruble is slowly climbing up, but is still not anywhere near the dollar. On April 15, the ruble “traded at a rate better than 50 per dollar.” In December, the ruble slipped to 80 per dollar. Analysts suggest that, despite the recent minor recovery, the Russian “central bank expected to cut its key interest rate at the end of the month.”
The poor economy has forced Russians to place vacations on hold. The sanctions from Russia’s war in east Ukraine have also kept Americans, especially businesspeople, away from the country. In 2014, the Domodedevo, Sheremetyevo, and Vnukovo airports received renovations to hold more than 77 million customers, making them larger than Heathrow and Dubai. Now the terminals are empty and gathering dust instead of money.
The horrible news for Russia could be a reason why a different Putin showed up for an interview on state-owned television station Rossiya. Instead of slamming the West, Putin claimed Russia and the United States could work together.
“We have disagreements on several issues on the international agenda,” he claimed. “But at the same time there is something that unites us, that forces us to work together. I mean general efforts directed at making the world economy more democratic, measured and balanced, so that the world order is more democratic. We have a common agenda.”