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Russian flights still refueling in Türkiye

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  • Major Turkish ground handlers no longer refueling Russian Airbus and Boeing aircraft
  • Russian Airbus and Boeing flights still being refueled
  • No change in flight patterns after Havas and TGS halt services

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and European Union placed sanctions on Russia and Russian businesses, including its aviation industry. These sanctions are meant to preclude the servicing of Russian operated aircraft outside of Russia. Even with the sanctions in place, Russian airline flights to Türkiye increased during 2022, with a quarter of international flights from Russia landing at Turkish airports.

Turkish companies get a warning

At the beginning of 2023, the United States began warning Turkish companies, including ground handling companies at Turkish airports, that they could be subject to penalties for violating sanctions on Russian airlines.

At the end of January, Türkiye’s largest ground handling company Havas communicated to Russian airlines that they could soon face a cut off of service for their Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

Finding fuel elsewhere

Media reports indicate Turkish ground handlers Havas and Turkish Ground Services (TGS) stopped supplying Russian Airbus and Boeing aircraft with fuel mid-March, but flight patterns indicate those aircraft are still refueling in Türkiye.

If Airbus and Boeing aircraft operated by Russian airlines were no longer being refueled in Türkiye, one would expect to see a drop in the number of flights from Russia to Turkey by those aircraft. One would also expect an increase in flights by non-Airbus and Boeing aircraft. But instead we see normal weekly variation in flight programs.

There has also been no increase in flights to Sochi or other Russian cities nearest Turkey, where aircraft unable to refuel in Turkey could fly to refuel on Russian soil.

Russian airlines are still refueling in Turkey, even if it is not with Havas and TGS.

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