Flights out of Russia skyrocket amid reservist call-up


Passengers are seen at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport – the base of Russian carrier S7 – on March 5, 2022, the day S7 Airlines cancelled all its international flights due to sanctions imposed on Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — As Russia tries to mobilize 300,000 reservists in its war with Ukraine, people are trying to flee the country before its borders are shut down. However, one-way flights out of Russia are rocketing in price and selling out fast after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up.

Putin’s announcement, made in an early morning television address Wednesday, raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the call-up would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers, and that students and conscripts would not be called up.

Meanwhile, Google Trends data showed a spike in searches for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular flight-booking site.

Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, both destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were sold out on Wednesday, according to Aviasales data.

Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights to Dubai cost more than 300,000 roubles, equivalent to $5,000 USD, about five times the average monthly wage.

Typical one-way fares to Turkey shot up to almost 70,000 roubles, equivalent to $1,150 USD, compared with a little over 22,000 roubles a week ago, Google Flights data shows.

The head of Russia’s tourism agency said no restrictions have been imposed on traveling abroad so far.

A tourism industry source also told Reuters that demand for plane tickets from Russia for the visa-free countries has jumped.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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