Flight prices out of Russia surge as Putin calls up reservists for Ukraine war

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Putin announced in his speech that 300,000 military reservists would be required to serve in the “special military operation,” raising fears that men of fighting age may not be allowed to leave Russia.
Sergey Bobylev | Sputnik | via Reuters

The cost of flights departing from Moscow skyrocketed as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial military mobilization” in a televised address Wednesday. 

Prices were rising steadily even before Putin’s comments, and were nine times more expensive than they typically would be in some cases after his speech, according to Google’s tracked prices.

Putin announced in his speech that 300,000 military reservists would be required to serve in what Moscow calls its “special military operation,” raising fears that men of fighting age may not be allowed to leave Russia.

The country’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said only those with experience as professional soldiers would be called up, and that students and people who had already served as conscripts would not be needed.

A large number of countries have placed bans on planes landing directly from Russia, including the U.S., the U.K., and most of mainland Europe. But there are countries considered sympathetic to Russia that would allow people to travel across — and flights to those nations are extortionate and rapidly selling out. 

Direct flights from Moscow to the Turkish city of Istanbul and Yerevan in Armenia sold out on Wednesday, according to Aviasales data, as reported by Reuters.

Prices weren’t available for flights to Armenia for Wednesday at the time of writing, but a single economy flight to the capital, Yerevan, for Thursday costs £1,117 ($1,267). The trip would typically cost between £120 and £185, making the price around nine times more expensive than the normal fare, according to Google data.

Flights to Istanbul typically cost between £240 and £320 but the cheapest flight is a 13 hour 35 minute journey for £1,008 with Azerbaijan Airlines. The priciest is £7,904 with Emirates via Dubai.

There are no flights available to Belgrade for Wednesday or Thursday, but the cheapest flight to Serbia’s capital for Friday is £2,529. The same flight ordinarily costs between £730 and £1,700.

A flight to Tel-Aviv, Israel, from Moscow would normally cost between £350 and £570, but the cheapest flight on Wednesday costs £1,398 at the time of writing.

There was also a surge in people searching for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular site for booking flights, following Putin’s announcement, according to Google Trends information.

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