DALLAS – Following Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilization of the Russian military, large numbers of draft-age Russians have rushed to book tickets to leave by any means possible. Ticket prices have risen to unprecedented levels in response to the first military mobilization since World War II.
Many international routes operated by Russian airlines have been canceled since the conflict with Ukraine began. Seat capacity on international routes had already plummeted prior to the announcement of the partial mobilization. This has led to demand for seats in the coming days, vastly outpacing capacity.
This weekend, it is increasingly likely that every international flight will be fully booked. Yesterday, Ural Airlines (U6) still had a few economy seats available to Bishkek-Manas (FRU). These seats were selling for around US$3000 each for a one-way ticket.
The price was heavily inflated for the short flight time of fewer than four hours.
In another example, a sole business class seat to Tehran-Imam Khomeini (IKA) was still available to purchase yesterday. The last remaining seat on the Mahan Air (W5) service was selling for nearly US$6000.
In a separate development, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported that a number of Aeroflot (SU) employees have started to receive military recall orders. Numerous SU pilots have either served in the military or are reservists, making them likely candidates to be called up to the conflict.
The news outlet did point out that employers can provide exemption requests if the individual’s role is deemed critical. Apart from SU, staff of at least four other airlines received conscription notices within a day of Putin’s speech.
Featured image: Ural Airlines VP-BSW Airbus A321-231. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways