The Russian airline Utair says it has not stopped flights to from Russia to Tajikistan after Western countries introduced sanctions targeting Russian airlines.

The airline currently operates seven Dushanbe-Moscow flights per week and it will probably increase the flight frequency after the lifting of covid restrictionsю

“All our flights are operated in accordance with the planned schedule, and so far there are no changes.  Perhaps, after the removal of covid restrictions, the airline will increase the number of flights.  Before the coronavirus outbreak, we had operated two Dushanbe-Moscow flights per day,” Husein Usmonov, Utair representative in Tajikistan, told Asia-Plus in an interview.   

Citing Utair CEO Oleg Semenov, the airline press center says Utair is continuing to operate flights abroad.

“Currently, Utais operates flights to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.  To operate flights to foreign countries, the company uses planes it owns and are registered on the Russian list of civil aircraft,” the Utair’s official website says.  

Aircraft maintenance is carried out by the airline in its own certified centers in Ufa, Surgut and Tyumen. 

“We have always used Russian IT-platforms for ticket booking and data storage,” 

Utair is a Russian airline with its head office at Khanty-Mansiysk Airport while its hubs are at Surgut International Airport and Vnukovo International Airport.  It operates scheduled domestic and some international passenger services, scheduled helicopter services, and extensive charter flights with fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters in support of the oil and gas industry across western Siberia.

Recall, Western have introduced sanctions targeting Russian.  Boeing has suspended parts, maintenance and support for Russian airlines as well as major operations in Moscow after Russia launch a so-called special military operation in Ukraine on February 4. 

Reuters, in particular, says that according to analytics firm Cirium, Russian airlines have 980 passenger jets in service, of which 777 are leased.  Of them, two-thirds, or 515 jets, are rented from foreign firms.

During an emergency meeting on February 27, Russian airlines were reportedly told that the state could only protect the flag carrier.  Privately-owned carriers were requested to negotiate directly with lessors and try to at least stall the repossession of their aircraft until solutions could be found.

According to ch-aviation, UTair is relatively insulated as it owns 50 of its 70 aircraft.  In contrast, the other large privately-owned carriers S7 Airlines and Ural Airlines, as well as Aeroflot subsidiaries Pobeda and Rossiya, rely entirely on leased aircraft.