One week ago the British government announced sanctions against three Russian airlines: Aeroflot, Ural Airlines and Rossiya Airlines. This kept them from selling or leasing takeoff and landing slots at U.K. airports. Russian airlines already couldn’t enter U.K. airspace.
We now know what this means in practice for their London Heathrow slots: Russian airlines don’t just lose the ability to profit from their slots, they actually lose the slots.
- Russian airlines will subject to the airport’s ‘use it or lose it’ rules for slots
- Since they can’t use the slots, they will be forfeit
- For winter 2022 and summer 2023 the slots will enter the pool that airlines can apply for
Aeroflot has 70 weekly takeoff and landing slots at London Heathrow. That’s enough for 5 daily roundtrips. One of those was leased from British Airways as a condition of approval for its acquisition of british midland 10 years ago. It’s not clear to me whether the slot will revert to BA’s use, or if they’ll have to lease it to another carrier.
The four slot pairs that Aeroflot owns are likely worth tens of millions of dollars apiece. The record for the sale of a slot pair was set in 2016 with Oman Air paying $75 million for slots from Kenya Airways. However the value of slots is dependent on their specific takeoff and landing times, and the value of slots in a post-pandemic world may have changed somewhat.
If U.K. sanctions were to be lifted against Russia it’s possible that Aeroflot could put its name up for the slots once again, and there would be pressure to award those slots to the majority state-owned carrier, both for international relations reasons and because Russia isn’t likely to allow U.K. airlines (i.e. British Airways) to fly London Heathrow to Moscow without their having similar access to Heathrow.
(HT: London Air Travel)