Russian airline removed from global reservation system, a blow to travel in the country

Russian airline removed from global reservation system, a blow to travel in the country

(CNN) — The reservations system that is the backbone of airlines around the world has ended its deal with Aeroflot, crippling the majority government-owned carrier’s ability to sell seats.

Tech company Saber says Aeroflot has been removed from its global distribution system, meaning Russia’s largest airline will not be represented in its “marketplace used by travel agencies, travel websites and businesses around the world to buy, book and make flight reservations”.

“Saber has been following developments in Ukraine with growing concern,” Saber CEO Sean Menke said in a statement. “We are taking a stand against this military conflict.”

The withdrawal of Global Distribution Systems (GDS) is one step, but other technology services provided to Aeroflot are still in play, experts say.

Saber has not suspended “automation services,” according to airline industry analyst Robert Mann of RW Mann & Company.

“Saber provides reservations, passenger services, operations, planning and network management systems. These are basic automation systems, business, operations and planning systems, without which airlines cannot work except minimally and manually,” Mann said via email.

In its statement, Saber said the company “will assess whether additional actions would be appropriate, taking into account legal considerations and any countermeasures that may be implemented in response.”

He pointed out that he was complying with all sanctions in response to a question about his other services.

Suspending automation services would have a disastrous impact on national operations, says Brett Snyder, aviation blogger and president of Cranky Flier.

“Aeroflot would be forced to try to find another supplier, but that’s not something you can change overnight. It would be very disruptive, and if Saber really wanted to punish Russia, they would look for ways to break these contracts,” he added. Snyder said via email.

Another travel technology company, Amadeus, said on Thursday it had begun suspending the distribution of Aeroflot fares in its systems.

“We will not sign any new contracts in Russia and we continue to evaluate our existing work portfolio in Russia in parallel,” Amadeus said in a statement.

“At the same time, we continue to assess and assess the potential impact of international sanctions imposed on Russia and any countermeasures by Russia,” the statement said.

The moves to remove Aeroflot flights from global distribution are the latest moves against Russia’s aviation industry after most of the Western world closed airspace to Russian planes.

Earlier this week, Boeing and Airbus said they would no longer do business with Russian customers.

Boeing suspended major operations in Moscow and temporarily closed its office in Kyiv and suspended “parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines,” the company said in a statement.

“Airbus has suspended support services to Russian airlines, as well as the supply of spare parts to the country,” Airbus said in a statement.

Last week, Delta Air Lines ended its codeshare booking agreement with Aeroflot.

The travel sector is among many industries suspending relations with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. In addition to aviation impacts, tour operators and cruise lines have halted and redirected operations involving Russia.

Top image: The logo of Russian airline Aeroflot is pictured on its ticket office in central Moscow on April 12, 2021. (Photo by Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)