DALLAS – A report has revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin may force workers from Russia’s largest airlines and airports to join the army.
According to an article in the Kommersant newspaper on Friday, staff from five major Russian carriers and airport facilities have all received conscription notices. This followed Putin’s speech on Wednesday, announcing Russian military mobilisation and the possible use of nuclear weapons.
The newspaper reported that the conscription could potentially mobilise between 50 and 80% of employees from companies including S7 Airlines (S7), Ural Airlines (U6), UTair (UT) and Redwings (WZ).
Meanwhile, a source close to the Aeroflot Group, which includes Rossiya Airlines (FV) and low-cost carrier Pobeda (DP), told the newspaper that the number of “potential conscripts” could equate to over half of its entire workforce.
Hopes for Exemption
Many of the country’s pilots have either had military training or completed military service, which is compulsory for people aged between 18 and 27. Airlines are now compiling lists of those who could be exempt from the conscription notice. This includes pilots, engineers and IT specialists.
A source told the newspaper that a request would be made to the Ministry of Transport to the Ministry of Defence in the hope that civil aviation will be granted exemption from the notice.
No airlines were available for comment, but a spokesperson for Rossiya told Kommersant that the rostering of its flight and cabin crews was continuing as normal. This was despite rumours that Flight Attendants were being reassigned from international services over fears they could be detained at the border and sent to military registration and enlistment offices.
Following Putin’s announcement, demand for flights out of the country surged to ‘unprecedented levels’ as draft-age Russians attempted to flee.
Featured Image: Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER (VP-BFC). Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways.