European Sanctions Ground Russia's Dobrolet
Aeroflot’s new low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet became the first casualty of the new European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia when it was forced to suspend all operations on August 4. The Moscow-based carrier announced that it had had to stop all flights following the cancellation of insurance cover, access to aeronautical information, and maintenance and leasing arrangements.
In a new wave of sanctions announced on July 30, the EU added Dobrolet to its list of sanctioned companies and individuals on the grounds that it operates all commercial flights between Moscow and Simferopol, capital of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which was effectively annexed by Russia earlier this year following a referendum that was not recognized internationally. “It [Dobrolet] therefore facilitates the integration of the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the EU sanctions statement declared.
Dobrolet, which was established by Aeroflot only last year, has been operating several leased Boeing 737-800s. According to the company’s website, it expected to have eight in its fleet by the end of this year and 40 by the end of 2018. In addition to Simferopol, the carrier has been connecting Moscow with Volgograd. It has plans to extend service to other Russian cities, including Samara, Kazan, Ufa, Perm and Yekaterinburg.