Airline restarts flights to Russia from Abu Dhabi in ‘risky move’ – ‘Could be a disaster!’

As the war in Ukraine drags into its sixth month, Russia is still largely isolated from the Western world politically, culturally and in terms of corporate boycotts. Many international brands are boycotting the country and airlines are still imposing flight bans as well as ongoing sanctions from the EU, UK and USA. 

However, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi have announced their route to Moscow will restart with tickets on sale for flights from October 3.

Founded in December 2019, the subsidiary is 49 percent owned by Wizz Air with the majority 51 percent owned by state-owned ADQ.

Wizz Air has another subsidiary Wizz Air UK, originally established to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

Etihad, Emirates and FlyDubai are among the Middle Eastern airlines operating to Russia from the UAE.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launched its Moscow route in December 2021 before suspending it when Russia invaded Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi said that the route was being restarted due to passenger demand.

They said: “Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a national UAE carrier that operates in line with the UAE’s national regulations and policies.

“The airline is resuming its operation to Moscow to meet travel demand for passengers wishing to fly to and from Russia from the UAE capital. 

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Mark Borkowski, a crisis PR consultant, told CNN that although most corporate boycotts were “virtue signalling” the move by the airline could be a “disaster” and a “own goal”.

He said: “We now begin to see a number of brands beginning to check their resolve, and as events drag on the virtue-signalling will give way to commercial intent.

“I expect this decision will be viewed with great interest.

“It could be a disaster — however the bigger issue is fatigue.

“Certain commercial interests will prevail.

“Nevertheless it’s a risky move that could turn into a profound PR own goal.”