The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the habits and ways of Russian business travelers, according to key speakers at a Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA) expo—dubbed RUBAE—last week at the Moscow Vnukovo-3 FBO. While Europe remains the primary destination for Russian business jet flyers, previous top-list getaways UK and France have given way to the Baltic states, Greece, and Cyprus, according to RUBAA executive director Anna Serezhkina.
This finding was confirmed by EBAA COO Robert Baltus at RUBAE. According to statistics on aircraft operations out of Russia’s three largest business aviation hubs—Moscow Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports, as well as Pulkovo in St. Petersburg—business jets recorded 16,000 flights to and from Europe in the first seven months of this year.
According to Baltus, Russia-Europe air traffic has stayed “comparatively well.” This traffic hit its lowest point in April 2020 at about 500 flights, but has been on the rise this year and hit 3,500 flights in July.
While traffic levels are now about the same as they were in 2018 and 2019, destinations differ, reflecting the current Covid-19 situation and geopolitics. For example, Nice has been replaced by Riga as the most popular destination for Russian business jets. However, Baltus believes that the air connection between Russia and Western Europe might improve if state authorities introduce an internationally recognized so-called Covid passport for air travelers.