20 Mar 2020 15:47

Azur Air becomes first Russian airline to suspend all flights due to Covid-19

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) - Azur Air has become the first Russian airline to suspend all its routes amid mass restrictions to international flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Azur Air, manifesting responsible citizenship with regard to the health of Russian tourists, fully supports the decision of its strategic partner, tour operator Anex Tour, on canceling all outbound flights from the Russian Federation from March 22 to April 20, 2020. We are confident that this measure will contribute to preserving the health of Russian citizens and will help thousands of tourists to avoid obligatory quarantine measures on returning to their home country," the company said in a statement on its Facebook page on Friday.

Azur Air will only continue conducting flights for returning Russian citizens from abroad, the statement said.

Azur Air specializes in international charter flights. The airline does not offer any domestic Russian routes. The company will thus be fully stopping its flights until April 20.

"Azur Air will retain its team of employees for the duration of the break it is compelled to make and will be working on preparing for renewal of flights as ordinarily scheduled. We ask Azur Air passengers to be understanding as regards the measures taken. We are confident that in the near future tourist destinations will again be able to accept holidaymakers, and the airline will be glad to again transport Russian tourists to the best resorts in the world," it said.

The airline said earlier that due to the coronavirus it was suspending flights to Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, India, i.e. Goa, and the Dominican Republic.

Azur Air is Russia's biggest charter airline. The travel agency Anex Tour is its strategic partner, and in March, the airline said it had also begun working with TUI Russia. According to SPARK-Interfax, it is owned by LLC Wan2Fly, which belongs to Russian citizens Anna Fukalova (55%) and Natalya Kochkar (45%), who used to work at Anex Tour.