Sabre Reservation System Cripples Aeroflot’s Ability To Sell Tickets

Computer reservation system Sabre, based in Dallas, has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot. That cripples their ability to sell tickets.

However Sabre also provides passenger service and operations for Aeroflot. Those are not being halted. Sabre has the ability to ground Aeroflot and is not doing so.

Instead Sabre’s release was very specific to terminating its distribution agreement with Aeroflot. Instead they “will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and will evaluate whether additional actions would be appropriate, taking into account legal considerations and any counter measures that could be implemented in response.”

  • They’re flagging legal exposure if they actually effectively shut down Aeroflot’s operations by pulling the plug on its IT backbone

  • And what sort of state-sponsored hacking would they face which would cripple airlines the world over that use their systems? This is a concern I’ve been highlighting in ongoing coverage.

Just how crippling operationally full withdrawal of Sabre services would be is unclear – how much of operations would become manual – since releases from Aeroflot and the software company haven’t offered full details on their arrangement in the past, and other providers may be performing some operational functions.

Notable IATA and ARC continue to provide settlement services to Aeroflot. There are Western companies providing a continued revenue stream to the majority government-owned Russian flag carrier.

Europe’s Amadeus computer reservation system continues to provide service to oneworld member S7 as well as to Rossiya and UTAir. I’m less persuaded that – risks and countermeasures aside – it’s appropriate to cut off service to a privately-owned company, and cut off even domestic air travel for Russian people whose ability to influence government policy is questionable.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Absolutely gross to purposely inflect misery on the average Russian who is as much a victim of Putin as are the Ukrainians, and incredibly foolish to hobble the limited Russian private sector like S7 so that Putin’s stranglehold over the economy is even tighter and more absolute. Putin invaded Ukraine, but make no mistake that the West has and continues to be his enabler.

  2. It’s interesting that the same standards have never been applied to the United States and our transatlantic partners following their criminal/illegal skirmishes throughout the world. The hypocrisy is stunning.

  3. This piling on Russia is getting out of hand. Among many other cessations, Fedex and UPS stopped delivering packages. Have these companies researched what the sanctions actually prohibit and are they following the law or are they just piling on the “I hate Russia” bandwagon? Have they considered how this affects average Russian citizens ability to get basic necessities such as food and medicine? This is not #MeToo or BLM where you take the convenient stance to show moral virtue or because you fear being called bad names. This is the real world and companies need to take a measured approach to these sanctions or they will be responsible for the death and destruction of a civilian population who are already suffering simply because of where they were born.

  4. @ Gary — America is proving that it is the most powerful country in the world when the government isn’t headed by a criminal like Trump.

  5. This is all about China. China needs fossil fuels – guess who has a lot? Yep, Russia.
    Guess who controls America and American corporations? China.
    China gets American companies to stop supporting Russia, American companies look like heroes and do a favor for China which will benefit them in the long run.
    China then “bails out” Russia and acquires many of their fossil fuels cheaply and permanently. Russia gets to continue on their quest against gaining back territory from Europe, thereby weakening Europe and the West. Exactly what China wants. And China didn’t have to even fire a bullet.
    Again, we are the pawns in the global chess game, and China is moves ahead of us useful idiots.

  6. @ David Stone. Analysts from all over the world, smarter than you and I, have been writing in places like the NYT’s that the ONLY end game in this that does not involve a full on war in Europe will be the Russian people rising up and forcing Putin’s inner circle to take him out. So no, this is not a time to be promoting complacency in Russians thinking this won’t effect them. They need to feel the pain this lunatic is inflicting on them and continuously made to know that his slaughtering of innocent people in a neighboring country for absolutely no reason will ruin their lives as well,

    What’s your alternative? You want war in Europe? Potential nuclear conflict with a man who just announced on state media that “Russia will end the world if provoked?” Sorry but not sorry, I think many like you have absolutely no concept or understanding how in just days this could spiral out of control globally. You remind me of the Europeans in the 1930’s that didn’t really think Hitler and Germany was all that bad. And how, as a result, the world lost the ability to depower him from within.

  7. Whatever pain Russian citizens endure from Western sanctions pale in terms of Ukrainian nightmares. I say rain down on Russia, it’s companies and their allies.

  8. With expectations for martial law to be imposed within Russia to stop the protests which average, everyday Russians against Russia’s campaign in Ukraine. Russia says it is a democratic country and its own people are facing soaring inflation and currency limitations – no different from what the government or oligarchs are facing.
    The notion that commercial air travel is solely done by middle class people and below is hopelessly naive. Sabre’s actions are specifically NOT to cripple Aeroflot’s operations which Sabre could do.

    Good on Sabre and Amadeus should do the same.

  9. “Analysts from all over the world, smarter than you and I, have been writing in places like the NYT’s…”

    More than likely, the exact same “analysts” who gave us their “expert” opinions on the Russian Hoax and the Covid fraud. No thank you, I’ll pass.

  10. @Gary Leff, “… Russian people whose ability to influence government policy is questionable.” Actually, the Russian people’s ability to influence government policy in Russia is greater than any outside force. Putin knows and fears this most of all. That is why Putin lies to them constantly. Dictators and totalitarian regimes (China is another prime example) are most afraid of the power of their own people

    @David Stone, “This is the real world and companies need to take a measured approach to these sanctions or they will be responsible for the death and destruction of a civilian population who are already suffering simply because of where they were born.” Sounds like you are referring to Ukraine.

  11. This really only affects their ability to sell tickets outside Russia. Tickets that they wouldn’t be selling anyway since they are banned from most major countries. This is largely symbolic.

  12. It’s one thing to stop future sales of airline tickets, quite something else to suddenly take down an entire airline operation through termination of their mission-critical SaaS. Let’s also recall that Putin hasn’t anywhere near done his worst – you need to keep something in reserve short of actually going to war should he start reducing Kyiv to rubble. As tempting as it is to go full-bore, there’s also a case to be made to hold back a little. You can always throw the kill switch later, but once you throw it, it’ll take a lot to unthrow it. As with most decisions in life, there’s a lot to be gained by at least taking a beat and thinking it through before making a decision that’s hard to reverse. Snap decisions are rarely good ones.

  13. @Stuart you help make my point. “Anyone not totally on board with full condemnation of Russia and full support of Ukraine is uninformed, misguided or supports Pitun and is a nazi” is the current mob logic. There is always nuance to these situations. In my experience, having worked along side many of them, the last people I would trust about issues like this are “analysts”, especially those writing in the NYT. They make a living on geopolitical strife much like the hustlers in the racial grievance industry. I would suggest you read these same analysts opinions back during the last two US led coups in Ukraine and see if there’s any consistency.

  14. @David Stone, Please explain the nuance in Russia’s Ukraine invasion, attempted overthrow of a democratically elected government, and subjugation of a peaceful population by force because I missed it. The Ukrainians did, too. You can refer to the Kremlin talking points if you’d like.

  15. Can’t make up this stuff!

    Absolutely gross to purposely inflect misery on the average Russian who is as much a victim of Putin as are the Ukrainians…

    – @Mak, @David Stone, et al.

    So, the allied forces were absolutely gross to purposely inflect misery on the average German who was as much a victim of Hitler as was the rest of the work, but especially the Jews? That is the essence of the argument!!!

    That ordinary Germans were not “involved” in the Third Reich’s atrocities (or ordinary Russians right now in Putin’s) is pure nonsense. By doing nothing, they b>were (are) involved. Could the Germans have made a difference then or can the Russians still make a difference now? Absolutely! The French Revolution, the American Revolution, and, yes, the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, aka the “Maidan Revolution” that culminated in the ousting of pro-Russian puppet President Viktor Yanukovych, are examples of people deciding to make a difference by challenging their rulers…

    G’day.

  16. Can’t make up this stuff!

    Absolutely gross to purposely inflect misery on the average Russian who is as much a victim of Putin as are the Ukrainians…

    – @Mak, @David Stone, et al.

    So, the allied forces were absolutely gross to purposely inflect misery on the average German who was as much a victim of Hitler as was the rest of the world, but especially the Jews? That is the essence of the argument!!!

    That ordinary Germans were not “involved” in the Third Reich’s atrocities (or ordinary Russians right now in Putin’s) is pure nonsense. By doing nothing, they were (are) involved. Could the Germans have made a difference then or can the Russians still make a difference now? Absolutely! The French Revolution, the American Revolution, and, yes, the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, aka the “Maidan Revolution” that culminated in the ousting of pro-Russian puppet President Viktor Yanukovych, are examples of people deciding to make a difference by challenging their rulers…

    G’day.

  17. @John it’s pretty clear that nothing will make sense to you because it comes from the wrong side of your virtue and emotional high ground. It’s not about Ukrainians. But, because others readers are capable of critical thinking, the nuance has to do with drastic effect on the Russian population. Does it make sense for western nations to kill Russian civilians because the Russian government is killing Ukrainian civilians?

  18. @Stuart. Your post was so good that I’m re-posting it below. Kudos too to @john for his excellent posts and to others who’ve weighed in with similar sentiments.

    I might differ a bit in that I don’t think the Russian people rising up to pressure the oligarchs is the only way to take Putin out. It could be that the oligarchs, the generals or even elements of his own intelligence services decide that’s best, even without the population rising up. Or it could be that a combination of external and internal pressure forces Putin to back down if he’s given some face-saving options.

    Regardless, the fundamental point is that multi-dimensional pressure needs to be applied on Putin, both for the sake of the Ukrainians he’s slaughtering and for the sake of democracy and a world order that will both lie in tatters if he succeeds in Ukraine.

    “@ David Stone. Analysts from all over the world, smarter than you and I, have been writing in places like the NYT’s that the ONLY end game in this that does not involve a full on war in Europe will be the Russian people rising up and forcing Putin’s inner circle to take him out. So no, this is not a time to be promoting complacency in Russians thinking this won’t effect them. They need to feel the pain this lunatic is inflicting on them and continuously made to know that his slaughtering of innocent people in a neighboring country for absolutely no reason will ruin their lives as well,

    What’s your alternative? You want war in Europe? Potential nuclear conflict with a man who just announced on state media that “Russia will end the world if provoked?” Sorry but not sorry, I think many like you have absolutely no concept or understanding how in just days this could spiral out of control globally. You remind me of the Europeans in the 1930’s that didn’t really think Hitler and Germany was all that bad. And how, as a result, the world lost the ability to depower him from within.”

  19. Does it make sense for western nations to kill Russian civilians because the Russian government is killing Ukrainian civilians?

    I just addressed that nonsense by analogy to ordinary Germans’ culpability vis-à-vis the genocidal atrocities of the Third Reich. Just see the comment right above yours. The parallel is spot on.

    Please stop posting.

    G’day

  20. @DCS: Something tells me the Russian civilians weren’t wearing their masks enough for your tastes.
    Stop posting??? A bit pompous don’t you think?

  21. “Pompous” is better than “clueless”, which each of your comments in this space, including the one about the “Russian civilians not wearing masks”, portrays. It was a plea for some introspection and, therefore, a favor.

    Goodbye.

  22. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I am on my month-long, 4+ nation, annual year-end Asian Escapade(TM).

  23. @ David Stone, The most important nuance you overlook (if you think Putin should be stopped that is) is sanctions that hurt Russians economically are much better than the alternative, which is military action. A war with Russia would be much more devastating to the Russians and many others. It will come to that sooner rather than later if Putin gets away with invading Ukraine and sets his sights on NATO countries like the Baltic states. Putin has already said those countries have no right to be independent. I agree with C_M though. We should keep some sanctions in our quiver because Putin isn’t done with his outrageous invasion and attempts to recreate a Russian empire.

  24. This shows how important it is to be internally reliant and not to be reliant on foreign countries. The lesson here is Russia will develop its own everything. They have the most resources in the world and have the most nukes, anti ship missiles, and they actually have a functioning space program that doesn’t rely on private companies. We would be smart to do the same and I’m talking about conservatives, including having independent power generation in our homes (solar that can power the home independent of the grid) and our own internet networks via Bluetooth repeater or laid cable that’s completely independent from the existing internet. Self reliance is vital. The U.S. should not be dependent on China like it is. Just because things are cheaper to make in Vietnam or a China doesn’t mean we should forget how to make them and not have the capacity. Rare earth metals is an example.

    These companies are getting ridiculous in that they don’t sanction all Central American countries that aid and abet illegal immigration. They don’t pull services for all the unprovoked wars of U.S. aggression the U.S. government has perpetrated from Panama to Iraq to Libya. They don’t pull services to European countries that criminalize speech and prosecute Christians for publicly saying the Bible is the word of god and all passages relating to homosexuals are true.

    The severity of how globalist governments around the world denounce Russia tells us Russia has morality on its side. Russia is not saint and Putin isn’t a defender of free speech/conservative freedom/white nationalism, but Europe literally criminalizes speech (saying facts are considered crimes as they can offend even if they are true) and the globalists used Ukrainian for their shenanigans (billions of dollars with Biden’s son) with their globalist comedian President of Ukraine who isn’t even ethnically Ukrainian. The people are the ones who suffer and it is terrible. Russia can’t allow Ukraine to join NATO for national security reasons the same way Cuba couldn’t be allowed to house missiles during the Cold War.

    All we see from all western media outlets is propaganda and fake news. From the stories of the 13 border guards on snake island to tweets of video games put out by the Ukrainian defense ministry as actual footage, it’s all a lie. Twitter and telegram are the only way to see what’s happening. We have Ukrainians who painted Ukrainian armored carriers to look Russian with a painted Z and they pretend they destroyed them in battle when a person filming from behind shows they lite it on fire to video. Russia has shown a lot of restraint with civilians and I hope it continues. Putin is bad only because he doesn’t acknowledge the Soviets were the worst party in WWII who murdered 10 million Ukrainians between 1932-1941, raped millions of German civilians after the war, and murdered 100 million innocent civilians from 1921-1991. The Germans actually liberated Ukraine from Soviet enslavement. Russia today is better different and I hope each Russian soldier knows mistreatment of civilians will not be tolerated by Putin.

  25. All we see from all western media outlets is propaganda and fake news.

    Reductio ad absurdum:
    What. may I ask, do you think you see on Russian or Chinese media, when you can see anything at all?

    See how ridiculous you sound.

    G’day.

  26. Spain’s Amadeus has also cut ties with Aeroflot. So Sabre and Amadeus are out.

  27. @Gene: Hampton Inn is technically a Hilton vis-á-vis the HHonors Program. Maybe DCS will have a Revolution of Dignity and move over to the Westin.

  28. NYT front page news :

    Last Vestiges of Russia’s Free Press Fall Under Kremlin Pressure
    “Everything that’s not propaganda is being eliminated,” a Nobel Prize winning editor said as Russian authorities moved to control the narrative in the Ukraine war.

    If ‘ornery’ means pointing out nonsense, then it is a badge of honor!

    G’day.

  29. “Whatever pain Russian citizens endure from Western sanctions pale in terms of Ukrainian nightmares. I say rain down on Russia, it’s companies and their allies.”

    This is a complete non-sequitur. How does injustice against one group of people justify injustice against another group of innocent people who are no more responsible for Putin’s crimes than the average North American or European. Like FDR putting Japanese Americans in concentration camps because of Pearl Harbor. Immorality posing as virtue.

  30. This is a complete non-sequitur. How does injustice against one group of people justify injustice against another group of innocent people who are no more responsible for Putin’s crimes than the average North American or European.

    Glad to see that you can even spell non sequitur despite the dash, but your own statement affirms the consistency of the logic that goes back to the code of Hammurabi (ca., 1750 BC), whereby you take an eye, you lose an eye. Is there anything more consistent than that?!!!

  31. I’m glad to see that commenters here have an ability to see both sides in this conflict.

    I’m not a huge fan of Putin, but I would be happy to continue to welcome Russian flights, including Aeroflot, and tourists to the United States – and not close down civilian airspace based on rushed policy decisions that only serve a certain hegemonic track and haven’t had a chance to pass the test of merit and reflection.

  32. I think it is a rather wishful thinking that the sanctions will cause Russians to flood the streets and demand Putin to resign. I am sure Putin is spinning this that the West and the US are against anything even remotely Russian like Stoli made in Latvia or Smirnoff bottled in Illinois and owned by Brits. Meanwhile, people in Ukraine are suffering and dying every day. How about the first and the foremost effort to stop the fight? How about a simple mandatory ceasefire from both sides for at least 2 weeks to let civilians out? Personally, I am for lifting all the sanctions in exchange for a ceasefire. Let the children live.

  33. I’ll be happy when DCS goes to bed. Your posts are exhausting.

    Absolutely. They are not intended for the weak-minded…

  34. Can you guys just agree to disagree please? You are obviously not going to change each other’s minds.
    Please, let it go….

  35. You are mistaken. I m not posting on this to change minds, especially dim and closed ones.

    But I agree that it is time to let go, so, I am out.

  36. It appears that a lot of people are fleeing Russia in anticipation of a declaration of martial law and a massive crackdown on all dissent. Plane tickets out are practically sold out. Whether these are Russians or Westerners, it makes sense to keep the airlines running until they can get out – once they clear, then they can throw the kill switch.

  37. Keep piling on the Russian companies
    At some point the Russian people will revolt
    The only good ending to this situation is to overthrow Putin and then kill him.
    Until this happens, unfortunately the Russian people will also be pawns in Putins quest to destroy the region

  38. So, just as when American & United say they’re no longer dealing with Russia by not overflying Russia, it’s a feel-good piece for Sabre.

    Sabre has merely cut off travel agents’ ability to book Aeroflot in the global distrituion system (GDS). Aeroflot probably has a website where tickets can be purchased.

    I am not sure about the settlement systems through IATA and ARC – they are airline-owned and controlled, so not sure if SU could be kicked out.

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