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)

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