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Russian Airlines Bear Costs of Flights Rerouted By Drone Strikes – RBC

An airplane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russian airlines have suffered thousands in additional costs due to regular airport closures prompted by drone strikes inside Russia, the RBC news website reported Friday, citing aviation industry experts. 

Moscow’s four international airports have repeatedly restricted access to their runways amid an increasing number of drone attacks on the Russian capital.

“If a plane was flying to Vnukovo [International Airport] and landed in Sheremetyevo [International Airport], that’s about an hour of additional flight time and corresponding costs for the airline,” said Dmitry Tyshchuk, CEO of Pobeda Airlines, the low-cost subsidiary of Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot.

An extra hour of flight time costs about $8,000 for a typical Boeing 737-800 airliner in Pobeda’s fleet, according to estimates by Russia’s Aviateam logistics provider and RunAvia flight safety service. 

At least one international airline — Turkmenistan’s flagship carrier Turkmenistan Airlines — has suspended flights to Moscow altogether as a result of the disruptions caused by regular drone strikes.

Some 45 flights were rerouted from Moscow airports during a large-scale wave of drone attacks in late August, RBC reported. 

“It’s very difficult to adapt to,” Pobeda's Tyshchuk told RBC. “This is primarily an inconvenience for customers.” 

The budget airline may seek compensation from the Russian government if the flight reroutes “turn into a long-term situation,” he added.

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