Russia is resuming air service with Vietnam, India, Finland and Qatar that was suspended last year amid the pandemic, starting Wednesday. A respective decision was made by the coronavirus response team in the middle of January.
It is planned that Russian and Vietnamese air carriers will be able to perform two flights per week between Moscow and Hanoi. Carriers will also be able to perform two flights per week on a parity basis on routes Moscow-Delhi, Moscow-Helsinki, St. Petersburg-Helsinki, and three flights per week on route Moscow-Doha. Moreover, the rate of regular flights on route Moscow-Cairo will be increased to three times per week. Along with that, the Russian government has lifted entry restrictions for citizens of those countries, TASS reports.
The decision of the response team on resumption of air service with a country is based on epidemiological safety criteria: particularly, the number of new coronavirus cases should not exceed 40 for 14 days per 100,000 citizens, the daily increase of new cases does not exceed 1% in 14 days, while the spread coefficient of the novel coronavirus infection does not exceed 1 in 7 days.
Flights to those countries have been resumed provisionally so far. Of all Russian carriers Aeroflot is the only company that has announced the intention to resume flights on one of the routes as it plans to start flights to Helsinki on January 28. Finnair has announced plans to resume flights from St. Petersburg as well. However, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said earlier that Russians would not be able to freely come to the country as the borders will be closed for travelers from third countries at least by February 25.
None of Russian or foreign airlines has announced resumption of regular flights on other routes to be opened.
Russia suspended all commercial passenger flights to other countries amid the coronavirus pandemic last March. Carriers only continued performing repatriation flights to carry Russians back from abroad and foreigners - to their homeland. Moscow suspended repatriation flights in September, currently air carriers can perform cargo-and-passenger flights to other countries - for passengers of those flights there are restrictions depending on the country of arrival.
Last summer Russia partially resumed flights to a number of states, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Egypt, the UAE, Turkey, Britain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Serbia, Japan, the Maldives and Cuba. Moreover, air service with Ethiopia and the Seychelles has been officially resumed, though none of Russian airlines has announced the start of flights to those two countries. Russia has also suspended air service with Britain due to a new coronavirus strain identified in the country.