Russia’s attack on Ukraine has affected flight paths, journey times, and ticket prices of Vietnamese airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said in a report to the Ministry of Transport on Friday.
The adverse impacts are inevitable as many air routes of the Southeast Asian country’s flag ship carrier Vietnam Airlines and hybrid airline Bamboo Airways include a transit stop in Russia.
As Russia has closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector, the two Vietnamese carriers, like many other airlines that fly over the world’s biggest country to get from Europe to Asia, are forced to find new routes.
The U.S. and its allies imposed the sanctions on Russia after Moscow launched what it called a 'special military campaign' in Ukraine to 'demilitarize' and 'denazify' the neighboring country on February 24.
Flights between Vietnam and Europe have been rerouted to avoid Russian airspace -- through either China, Kazakhstan, or North Africa -- with longer flight times of anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes, leading to a cost increase of about US$10,600-21,200 per flight.
This translates to incurred costs of $70,000-130,000 per week for Vietnam Airlines’ six flights between Vietnam and Europe and $35,000-65,000 per week for Bamboo Airways in total.
Flying around Russia also costs $20,000-40,000 a week for Vietnam Airlines’ four flights between Vietnam and the United States, each of which is now 20-30 minutes longer than before.
While the national airline uses wide-body Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft, 80 percent of which are leased, for the aforementioned routes, all of its aircraft lease contracts stipulate that the lessee is not allowed to operate services to countries and territories that are sanctioned by the U.S. and the European Union.
This has complicated Vietnam Airlines’ fleet coordination.
In addition, expenses to transport aircraft spare parts to Russia and provide technical support there have spiked as the global supply chain is disturbed.
Those costs, however, are not covered by international insurance companies who are subject to the current embargoes against Russia.
The said drawbacks, combined with the declining demand for transportation to Russia, prompted Vietnam Airlines to temporarily suspend regular flights on the Hanoi - Moscow route, starting from March 25, until further notice.