Ethiopian Airlines will soon start flying to Moscow three months after suspending flights because of the war between Russia and Ukraine. It is a decision made to capitalize on the market opportunity created after many airlines stopped flying to Russia’s capital city.
Ethiopian has been flying to Moscow for the last four years, after a gap of 27 years stretching back to the demise of the Soviet Union. It saw relations with Moscow nosedive as the new administration ousted the communist government in 1991.
There were three flights every week to Moscow since 2018 before the suspension was placed. Executives are yet to announce the exact date operations would resume.
Egypt’s flag carrier, EgyptAir, is the first African airline to resume its flights to Moscow on April 15, 2022. Flights to Moscow were cancelled due to problems with European Flight Insurance, amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and sanctions against Russia.
The decision to resume operations was made after Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi signed a law that allows the country’s Finance Minister to provide EgyptAir with an insurance guarantee. The insurance covers risks including wars or hijacking during flights to and from Russian airports.
Attempts to check whether Ethiopian has acquired an insurance guarantee to fly to Moscow bore no fruit.
Analysts welcomed the decision of the Airline to resume flights to the world’s largest city in size.
“It is not going to be difficult for Ethiopian to do so, as it has already been flying there before the war. And it is a right move to take advantage of the market opportunity,” said Kaleyesus Bekele, an aviation analyst.
The airlines must complete various pre-requisites before beginning the flight. This includes checking the current state of access at Moscow Airport, identifying fuel suppliers and passenger and ground services.
“These will determine the exact date when the technical work will be completed to resume flying,” Kaleyesus added.
Ethiopia is not among “unfriendly countries” listed by the Russian government following the sanction placed on Vladimir Putin’s administration. This means any flights from Russia to Ethiopia and vice versa is allowed, according to the rules of the Russian government