Emirates’ CEO has stated that the airline would continue to travel to Russia until its owner, the Dubai government, instructs it otherwise.
“If we’re instructed to stop, we’ll stop,” Sir Tim Clarke told media outlets. “Unless we’re informed otherwise, we’ll keep going.”
Since the conflict in Ukraine began, most major international airlines have walked out of Russia due to sweeping sanctions imposed by Western countries.
However, Emirates is one of the few airlines currently flying to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
When asked if the airline would alter its stance, Emirates president Sir Tim said that “it was not his call,” but rather a decision made by the UAE government.
In addition to passengers, the aircraft delivers cargo such as humanitarian aid, food, and medical supplies that are not subject to sanctions.
Sir Tim went on to say that it was critical to recognize that the Russian public may not be involved in the Ukraine conflict.
And that the diplomatic core of other nations with embassies in Moscow must be free to move in and out of the country in order to function.
“We’re catering to folks who are on the outskirts of the big problem here,” he added, “and that’s probably how the [UAE] government sees it.”
Western nations have called for sanctions against Russia, but the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have refused.
Abu Dhabi’s commercial connections with Moscow have likewise not been broken. It was one of just three nations, along with China and India, to vote against condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council in February. It also voted against suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council at the General Assembly on April 7.
Moscow has suffered a bombardment of unprecedented penalties since the start of the war, including prohibitions on Russian planes using airspace and airports in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Russian airlines’ international flights have been significantly hampered as a result of the restrictions. Due to the restrictions, Russian national airline Aeroflot has halted all foreign flights except to Minsk, Belarus’ capital.
Sir Tim believes that the conflict in Ukraine will have long-term consequences for the global aviation business, particularly if Russia is removed from the global economy by the West.
“For both sides, this [war] will entail huge manifestations of possible disadvantage. And this will have repercussions for the industry “he stated
Despite increasing oil costs, Sir Tim said Emirates is seeing good demand. The airline has passed on the cost to customers by imposing a fuel premium on tickets, but this has had little effect on bookings.
“Regardless,” Sir Tim remarked, “they are willing to pay the amounts that we must charge to compensate this massive rise in the fuel price.”
He went on to say that the aviation sector was used to dealing with high oil costs, but that budget airlines would have a hard time getting through this without losing money.
Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict sparked instability in global energy markets, Brent, one of the primary benchmarks for oil, has been trading above $100 for about two months.
Due to the problem of increased oil costs, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the airline industry’s overall financial performance in 2022 is expected to suffer. About a quarter of an airline’s costs are made up of jet fuel.