Russia Continues with Flights to Repatriate Tourists from the Caribbean

Turistas rusos, Rusia

MIAMI, United States. – Repatriation flights for Russian tourists stranded in Cuba and other Caribbean countries, like Mexico and the Dominican Republic, will not be halted in spite of the closing of airspace to Russian aircraft by the United States, according to information published in a communiqué this Wednesday by Russia’s Association of Tour Operators (ATOR).

The closing of airspace “will not affect the schedule of repatriation flights (…). Routes will be slightly modified and will travel over neutral waters completely,” stated the organism.

“All repatriation flights from Caribbean countries will take place. We are flying over neutral waters,” confirmed Anna Podgornaya, general director of PEGAS Touristik.

Philip Obruchev-Mironov, marketing division chief of the tour operator Intourist, stated that repatriation flights could also operate making intermediate stops in countries that had not closed their airspace to Russia. “For example, through the Atlantic to Morocco, then along the northern coast of Africa to Egypt, and then through Turkey and Kazakhstan to Russia,” he explained in detail.

“In this case, refueling will be done in Morocco. It’s also possible to take a longer option through Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and the Far East,” stated the official.

This week, ATOR indicated that some 6,000 to 8,000 Russian tourists were stranded in Cuba after the closing of European airspace to Russia, one of the sanctions imposed on this country because of its invasion of Ukraine.

The source also indicated that between 3,500 and 4,000 Russian travelers are stranded in Mexico, and another 5,000 to 6,000 in the Dominican Republic. In total, Russian airlines will have to repatriate home between 16,000 and 18,000 tourists.

“Prior to this, the airline flew over the countries of Northern Europe, Canada and the United States; the flight took more than 12 hours. Now it will take longer to fly to Cuba, for example, through Kamchatka –that will take one day- and it will be more expensive, which is perhaps more important. In addition, the airline carriers will have to provide the location of airports for emergency landing along the route, and there are practically no such airports available due to the European Union and North American sanctions,” indicated ATOR last Monday.

On that day, Azur Air, Aeroflot, Air France-KLM and Royal Flight, the main airlines that operate the Cuba-Russia itinerary, cancelled reservations and flights due to sanctions imposed by the European Union and Canada on Russia, as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

The situation has also stranded a large number of Cubans in Russia. Russia is one of the most popular destinations among non-Spanish speaking countries to which residents of the island travel.

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