Russia has lifted its ban on direct flights from the UK after more than six months. From Wednesday onward, Moscow-London flights have resumed. From June 10th, airlines may begin operating direct routes between seven more countries. At least another three weeks are to pass before flights are allowed to Turkey and Tanzania.
Due to the rapid spread of a new strain of the virus called the “British variant,” Russian authorities put flights between the two countries on hold on December 22nd, 2020. Since then, the ban was repeatedly extended, the last time on April 15th.
In addition to the seven countries already served, additional flights will resume in seven more countries starting on June 10th. Carriers will then once more be able to fly between Russia and Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Morocco, and Mauritius.
According to the Russian COVID-19 task force, the ban on direct flights to Turkey and Tanzania will remain in place until at least June 21st. As of April 15th, flights to and from these states were suspended. Officially, this was due to changes in the coronavirus situation in the two countries. However, since Tanzania has not reported any new cases in the past year, the decision surprised the country’s tourism authorities.
Due to the pandemic, Russia suspended all international flights in March last year. The country first allowed direct services abroad to resume on August 1st. Somewhat ironically, the first flights then took off from Moscow and St Petersburg to Ankara, Istanbul, and Zanzibar.
Despite Russia’s gradual restoration of international flight connections, strict entry requirements remain. Only citizens and permanent residents, along with their family members, are allowed to enter the Russian Federation, along with those holding highly qualified specialist visas, Belarusian nationals, and airline crew.
Russian citizens must upload a COVID-19 PCR test certificate to the Unified Public Services Portal online no later than three days after arrival. Since May 1st, an additional test must be taken five days following the flight, until when travellers are obliged to isolate themselves at home. Foreign nationals have to present a negative PCR result prior to boarding, where the test itself can not have been conducted more than 72 hours before departure.