Global flight tracking service FlightRadar24 showed a huge number of one-way flights have left from Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia. The flights filled up quickly and the prices of tickets for remaining connections skyrocketed, apparently driven by fears that Russia’s borders could soon close.
One-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists. Putin’s announcement, made in an early-morning television address, raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave Russia.
Flights departing Moscow and St. Petersburg today. The @AP is reporting international flights departing Russia have either sold out or skyrocketed in price after Putin announced a mobilization of reservists.
Search SVO, VKO, DME for Moscow airports and LED for St. Petersburg. pic.twitter.com/LV2PrkwPD9
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 21, 2022
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the call-up would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers, and that students and those who had only served as conscripts would not be called up. Nevertheless, Google Trends data showed a spike in searches for Aviasales, which is Russia’s most popular website for purchasing flights.
Tickets for the Moscow-Belgrade flights operated by Air Serbia, the only European carrier besides Turkish Airlines to maintain flights to Russia despite a European Union flight embargo, quickly sold out for the next several days. The price for flights from Moscow to Dubai increased within minutes before jumping again, reaching as high as 9,200 euros ($9,119) for a one-way economy class fare.
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, were also unavailable.
With inputs from AP