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Russian Aviation Crushed: Flight Cancelations, Airspace Bons, Canceled Leases, Terminated Partnerships

After the invasion of Ukraine sanctions stop Aeroflot flying anywhere outside Russia except Belarus. The cancellation also applies to its subsidiaries Aurora and Rossiya.

The European Union gave companies until March 28th 2022 to end any rental contracts with Russia. The order means lessors need to get their planes back in order to lease them out again. Most of the aircraft leased to Russian carriers are Boeing or Airbus planes. Of the 861 aircraft (332 Boeing) in the fleets of Russian airlines, about nearly 600 belong to leasing companies, most of them from Ireland, according to Cirum, an aviation data company. Those planes are worth an estimated $12 billion. AerCap, which is based in Dublin, is the most exposed, with an estimated 142 leased aircraft in Russia, according to IBA. The company is the world’s largest leasing company for commercial planes and its customers include Aeroflot and Rossiya.
Separatly, Russia’s aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, recommended that Russian airlines with planes registered in foreign jurisdictions suspend all flights abroad from 8 March because of fears that they could be seized by foreign governments. The suspension effectively leaves a handful of Western companies with no way of recovering hundreds of planes leased to Russian carriers. 

Aeroflot then said it was canceling its international flights because of “new additional circumstances impeding the operation of flights.” 

It's worth noting that  before Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine Aeroflot used to fly to 146 cities in 52 countries around the world. Aeroflot has halved its international route numbers since the invasion began, prompted by the EU, the U.S., and Canada closing their airspace to Russian planes, UK announced a ban on the ability of the Aeroflot airline to operate in the UK. Further, some 36 countries have now banned the use of their airspace by Russian registered or related aircraft. Russia has reciprocated those bans. Most recently, Boeing has also reportedly suspended parts, maintenance, and technical support services for Russian airlines (presumably in line with those sanctions).

Russians can still fly foreign airlines to a number of destinations in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Armenia and Uzbekistan. Yet no airline—Russian or foreign—now flies between Russia and China connected in the wake of Western sanctions.

Beijing’s strict controls on international flights may be a cause of the lack of flights. The country operates a “Five One” policy, in which local airlines can run only one international flight per week to any country, and foreign airlines can operate only one flight to China per week. According to China's aviation regulator China will allow 644 scheduled international passenger flights to and from the country per week in the summer season.

Star Alliance

Star Alliance was established on May 14th, 1997 by five airlines on three continents: United Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways, Air Canada, and Lufthansa and they shared the star logo from the beginning, with its five points representing the founding airlines. The alliance adopted its first slogan, "The Airline Network for Earth", with its goal "an alliance that will take passengers to every major city on earth". With a management team in Frankfurt and a fully integrated online reservations system, Star Alliance continues to develop products and services that suggest how all the alliances might evolve as they enter their third decade.

At the Los Angeles International Airport, for instance, a new 15,000-square-foot Star Alliance premium-class lounge opened in July, replacing 12 member-carrier lounges. The lounge — with showers, a business center, free Wi-Fi and all-day dining — is the third of its kind for Star, after Zurich and Nagoya, Japan than in London, Paris and additional lounges worldwide.

“These carriers could not have afforded to separately build such an elaborate space,” Mr. Klick said.

Star Alliance was the first airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveler. Star Alliance consists of 26 members carriers each with its own distinctive culture and style of service. Alliance members come together to offer smooth connections across a vast global network. A project company based in Frankfurt, Germany, coordinates Star Alliance activities. It is a truly international workforce, mirroring the reach and multiculturalism of the Alliance, with a team made up of people from over 15 different countries.

Star Alliance Member Airlines:  Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, THAI, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines und United Airlines.

The company’s mission is to “Execute leadership in managing a portfolio of alliance products and services using an agreed process”. These include co-locations at airports, infrastructure, communication initiatives and other services to improve your travel experience. Today, with other member airlines Star Alliance serves over 725 million passengers a year. Star Alliance members’ fleet consists of more than 4,700 aircraft offers 18,400 daily flights to 1,300 airports in 191 countries. An experience awaits travelers in over 1,000 lounges worldwide.

The alliance has a two-tier rewards program, Silver and Gold, with incentives including priority boarding and upgrades.

Gold Status: Your loyalty as a frequent flyer to the Star Alliance network has earned you Gold Status. We repay you by recognising you across the entire network with a special welcome and a set of privileges that will make your journey smoother and more comfortable.

Silver Status: Silver Status recognises that you have shown a good degree of loyalty to Star Alliance member airlines and earns you two privileges that can make your journey smoother. If you carry on flying with Star Alliance member airlines you may go on to qualify for Star Alliance top status level, Star Alliance Gold.

Like other airline alliances, Star Alliance airlines share airport terminals (known as co-locations) and many member planes are painted in the alliance's livery.

From its first day, Star served every inhabited continent, in a clear illustration of why alliances exist: You can travel pretty much everywhere on alliance carriers. Wherever you’re based, if you are a frequent flyer there’s an alliance with a value proposition for you based on the perks of loyalty and seamless connections.


Welcome to Oneworld®, an alliance of 14 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to over 1,000 destinations around the world. Oneworld is an airline alliance founded on 1 February 1999. It’s the brightest way to travel worldwide. The alliance's stated objective is to be the first choice airline alliance for the world's frequent international travellers.

On 21 April 2005, Oneworld became the first airline alliance to enable its customers to fly throughout its members' network on electronic tickets (e-tickets) only, with the completion of interline e-ticketing (IET) links between all its member airlines.
Thanks to Oneworld's array of special privileges and rewards you can enjoy a which includes earning and redeeming frequent flyer points on all Oneworld airlines. If your Oneworld frequent flyer tier status is Emerald or Sapphire, or you are travelling in a First or Business Class cabin on any Oneworld member airline, you can access more than 650 airport lounges throughout the world. This means you can relax or catch up with work in comfort and style before departure, regardless of which Oneworld member airline you choose to fly with.
In 2011, the alliance headquarters relocated from Vancouver, Canada, to Park Avenue in New York City, sharing premises with the local offices of a number of Oneworld member airlines including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. A key benefit of being in New York is that 10 of the 14 Oneworld members fly to at least one New York airport. 

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines as well as Fiji Airways as a Oneworld Connect partner.
Affiliate members include AmericanConnection, American Eagle, BA CityFlyer, British Airways (BA) Limited, Comair, OpenSkies, SUN-AIR, Dragonair, Nordic Regional Airlines, Iberia Regional Air Nostrum, Iberia Express, J-AIR, Japan Transocean Air, LAN Argentina, LAN Brazil, LAN Colombia, LAN Ecuador, LAN Express, LAN Peru, QantasLink, Jetconnect, and Globus, LLC.

As of March 2020, Oneworld member airlines collectively operate a fleet of 3,296 aircraft, serve about 1,000 airports in 170 countries, carrying over 490 million passengers per year on 13,000 plus daily departures. It is the third-largest global airline alliance in terms of passengers carried, behind SkyTeam and Star Alliance.

Connecting between airlines at unfamiliar airports can be a stressful experience, especially if your flight is delayed. Oneworld recognises the impact delays and missed connections can have on your plans and on your life. That is why Oneworld member airlines have partnered together to form teams of connection experts: Oneworld Global Support. The Oneworld Global Support teams will do their best to allow you to use dedicated fast track lanes through immigration or security to help you catch your next flight. Oneworld teams will also do everything possible to transfer your baggage so that it makes it on time to your final destination.
If you miss your connecting flight, the Oneworld Global Support team will provide you with updated travel information, a new boarding pass and, where applicable, assistance with overnight accommodations.
Oneworld Global Support is currently available at Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, New York JFK and Tokyo Narita. The service is offered at these airports whenever possible, subject to operational constraints.
Representatives from Oneworld member airlines are on hand to ensure your journey is as smooth as possible whenever you transfer between our member airlines’ flights, from checking in your luggage to your final destination to helping you find the right lounge.
Oneworld transfer counters and service desks are located in key airports around the world and are clearly marked with the Oneworld logo for easy identification.

Airline Alliances

Airline Alliances are partnerships between or among airlines between two or more airlines agreeing to cooperate on a substantial level. Within these collaborations, airlines can share resources, pick up or extend partner routes and even offer the ability to earn and redeem miles through each others’ rewards programs. Alliances may provide marketing branding to facilitate travelers making inter-airline codeshare connections within countries. One specific example is that members with Star Alliance Gold status can take advantage of Star Alliance lounges in airports around the world. This branding may involve unified aircraft liveries of member aircraft. There are three of them: Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld, in order of size. They make connections and mileage collecting and spending easier. Since their appearance in the late 1990s, they have been a welcome innovation for flyers who have elite status, which gets recognized by all partner airlines. 

Alliances offer more city pairs, service frequencies and the ability to seamlessly shift from domestic to international flights,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president for analysis at the Teal Group, an aviation consulting firm. “All without having to change brands, terminals or airports.”

Airline alliances evolved mostly as a result of globalization. “With new manufacturing facilities in China and major markets opening in Europe, travelers suddenly found themselves with far different needs than in the past,” said Christian Klick, vice president of Star Alliance, the oldest and largest such group. “Alliances created a new global reach to satisfy these burgeoning traveler demands.”

 Codeshare Flights: Many airlines decide to join an airline alliance because it makes codesharing possible. This means that an airline is able to publish and market a flight under its own airline designator and flight number, when it may in fact be operated by multiple airlines. This effectively boosts the number of destinations that an airline can offer. Have you ever flown an itinerary that was booked through one airline but operated by another? You can thank an airline alliance agreement. Codeshares allow customers to book a larger variety of flights directly through one airline than that airline operates by itself. This means that long-haul or multi-connection tickets can be booked all the way through with the same airline, even though the flights may be operated by multiple airlines.

Going somewhere your airline can’t quite get you? Does your airline not have a flight along one leg of your journey that works for your schedule? One of its alliance partners might. Instead of booking multiple itineraries, you can book one itinerary with multiple airlines that are partners. Codesharing also means that travelers have a wider range of departure times and that travel times are often significantly reduced thanks to this optimization. Airport lounges are also more comfortable and can be shared by airlines.

 Similar logic that informs codeshares informs the earning and spending of Points and Miles. Every time customers fly, they accumulate points for future travel discounts as well as other benefits. The main benefit for the customer is that for every flight, the airline rewards air miles (often called points) that discount the cost of future flights.

Other benefits for customers include discounts on services related to flights, such as baggage or seat selection. Customers on a frequent-flyer program often have priority on travel class upgrades, access to airport lounges, early boarding and more. Frequent-flyer programs are often used in collaboration with credit card companies. When a customer uses the credit card for purchases, they receive points in their frequent-flyer club.

 Not only is it possible to redeem your miles for flights on partner airlines, but membership status offers benefits across multiple airlines within an alliance too.

 Perhaps the most important aspect of an alliance is the centralization of customer relations. Flying multiple airlines with multiple codes can cause a major headache if something goes wrong in the middle of your journey—especially when the airlines don’t communicate with one another.

Alliances enable airlines to communicate and operate with centralized customer relations such that when things go wrong, one airline’s customer relations can adjust, fix, rebook or otherwise repair the itinerary with minimal hassle.