Flight bookings to Eastern Europe plummet after Russian invasion of Ukraine Business News

After The Independent revealed airfares between the UK and Eastern Europe fell to £15 return this month, new data shows bookings have now halved.

Figures from aviation data analyst ForwardKeys show that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused an immediate blockage of flight bookings in Europe – as well as domestically in Russia.

The company compared seat sales in the week following the invasion, from February 24 to March 2, with the previous seven days.

Civil aviation came to a complete halt to, from and within Ukraine and Moldova when they closed their airspace, while Russia and Belarus were subject to flight bans and safety warnings.

Outside this region, the most affected destinations were generally those closest to the conflict. Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

All have seen a collapse in bookings of between 30 and 50%.

Yesterday The Independent found that return airfares from the UK to cities such as Krakow, Bucharest and Riga have fallen well below £50 – with a return from Luton Airport to Palanga in Lithuania, almost the Latvian border, available for just £15 return.

The shock of Russia’s attack on its neighbor has hit flight sales almost everywhere else in Europe.

Olivier Ponti, vice president for information at ForwardKeys, said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had an immediate impact, stalling what had been a strong recovery in travel since early January.

“Transatlantic travel and Western European destinations have been less affected than I feared – North Americans can tell the difference between war in Ukraine and war in Europe, and so far it seems that travelers consider the rest of Europe to be relatively safe.

“There is also strong pent-up demand. However, these are only the first days of a global political and economic crisis; thus, what happens to travel will certainly be affected by the progress of the war and the impact of sanctions.

“Over the coming weeks, I expect inflation and potential fuel supply issues to slow what would otherwise be a strong post-pandemic recovery as Covid-19 travel restrictions are phased out. lifted.”

The only exceptions to a picture of double-digit declines in demand are Belgium, Iceland and Serbia, which saw less than 10% reductions in bookings.

Serbia’s relatively strong performance compared to all of its neighbors is the result of its new status as the main gateway between Russia and the rest of Europe. Air Serbia operates three flights a day between its Belgrade hub and Moscow’s main airport, Sheremetyevo.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-10 08:09:00

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