Desperate Aeroflot Calls For Protectionism – Blames Emirates And Turkish (Not Putin!) For Woes

Russia has very little air connectivity. The last thing they want to do is make it harder for airlines to fly to and from the country. They’re also massively subsidizing their airline and aircraft industry.

But Aeroflot is struggling, perhaps nowhere made more obvious than the airline’s CEO fighting for what few scraps of travel are left – blaming Emirates and Turkish Airlines for its woes, and begging the Russian government to make life harder for those airlines so that passengers have no choice but to fly Aeroflot.

The head of Russia’s state-controlled airline Aeroflot called on the Russian government to “balance the interests” of Russian and foreign airlines in order to support the domestic aviation sector, in an interview with Russian news site RBC published on Wednesday.

In the interview, Aeroflot CEO Sergei Alexandrovsky said it is “important that the state balances the interests of Russian and international carriers. Because it is obvious that foreign carriers now have much more opportunities and advantages in these conditions”.

…[He] called for a degree of what he called “state protectionism” to safeguard domestic aviation.

Why is it, does he think, that other airlines have an advantage over Aeroflot – such as the ability to connect passengers beyond Turkey and the U.A.E.? And what does he think happens if the Russian government slaps restrictions on those few airlines carrying Russians abroad?

Protectionism was bad policy when American, United, and Delta were arguing for it, hoping the U.S. government would limit flights by Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad. And it’s bad policy for the Russian people to further limit their flight options and raise fares, too. Fortunately the U.S. government wasn’t willing to violate its Open Skies treaty obligations because of U.S. airline lobbying, and U.S. consumers weren’t served up. Russia has only Putin’s ending his attack on Ukraine for hope in preserving its aviation industry.

(HT: @istrakhov)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary.

    I have realized, you don’t want or appreciate my critique of your posts.

    I will stop reading and commenting on your blog. You are too prejudiced, and I am too honest and factual.



  2. @robert
    we are devastated by your decision not to share your wisdom with us, it is a terrible loss for the community
    please reconsider as we are left blind without your knowledge

  3. If the head of Aeroflot said anything other than what he did (certainly if he blamed Putin, as the headline implies he should), he’d be thrown in jail at best, or “disappear” at worst.

  4. Us carriers do the same thing with their sorry airlines and products.

    Congress should allow foreign ownership and allow airlines to fly point to point in the us.

    Delta, united and AA only exist because the us government allows protectionism. Nobody would fly us carriers with their geriatric and rude fa’s if foreign airlines would be allowed in.

  5. Gary, you can certainly dig a bit dipper in this matter.
    (1) People are still flying in and out of Russia. The void created by banning Aeroflot from most of the world airspace was filled by other carriers. Turkish, Qatar, Etihad and several others are doing lucrative business of flying to Russia and providing further connections – something that Aeroflot cannot do. Somehow, I am not hearing many folks saying “I will never fly Qatar, Turkish, etc. because they are flying to Moscow”.
    (2) If the head of Aeroflot would blame Putin, he will soon fall out of a window or die from a heart attack out of a sudden.
    (3) It looks like Aeroflot has no shortage of parts to serve Boeing and Airbus planes and even doing heavy maintenance.

  6. It worked for Air Canada for years! Successfuly lobbied the govt to block ME3 and TK to keep sh itty AC flying.

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