Business travel

Business travel community assesses Ukraine’s early impact

The business travel community is assessing the early impact of the war in Ukraine, with airlines and travel agencies monitoring the situation closely.

Data from flight intelligence firm Cirium revealed that 212 flights have been canceled to and from Ukraine since February 18, with a total of 1,792 flights flown during the same period.

Additional information showed which destinations were affected with 33 canceled flights between Ukraine and Russia, while 25 flights were canceled to Poland and 15 to Germany.

In its most recent figure from February 24, Cirium recorded that 155 flights were canceled to and from Ukraine worldwide.

Between the UK and Ukraine, there were 44 flights from February 18 to February 23, while four flights scheduled to fly between destinations on February 24 were cancelled.

On the same day, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, announced the banning of Russian airline Aeroflot in Parliament and the Civil Aviation Authority suspended the airline’s license.

The Russian government followed suit by banning British carriers from its airports and airspace.

British Airways issued a statement saying it had suspended flights to Moscow as well as use of Russian airspace “after confirmation of Russian government restrictions”.

He said: “We apologize for any inconvenience caused, but this is clearly a matter beyond our control. We notify customers of canceled services and offer a full refund. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“Rerouting some services may result in longer flight times and we apologize to customers for the inconvenience. Our only current destination in Russia is Moscow (and we operated three times a week). We haven’t operated in Ukraine for several years, and we don’t use Ukrainian airspace.

Other carriers operating services to and from Ukraine suspended flights to the country on February 24 due to the closure of its airspace.

Wizz Air said: “Due to the current events in Ukraine and the closure of airspace, Wizz Air regrets to inform our customers that the airline must temporarily suspend all flight operations in the country.”

In a similar statement, Air Baltic said it was suspending flights until March 13: “The safety of our passengers and employees is AirBaltic’s top priority. AirBaltic assesses the current situation before each flight and follows the recommendations issued by official authorities. AirBaltic is flexible and ready to adjust its flight schedule if necessary.

The closure of Ukrainian airspace and the ban on British flights over Russian airspace raise big questions about carriers serving eastbound routes.

Finnair said on February 23 that it would not use Ukrainian airspace “until further notice”.

He added: “Changes in flight routes affect our flights to/from Dubai, Gazipasa and Tel Aviv, saving them five to ten minutes in flight time. Finnair does not have flights to Ukraine in its traffic plan.”

The TMCs are also closely monitoring developments.

Drew Crawley, CCO Amex GBT, said, “American Express Global Business Travel is proactively monitoring the situation in Ukraine and communicating regularly with customers and travelers, colleagues and partners.

“Ensuring continuity of service to our customers and travelers is of paramount importance. We have business continuity plans in place for Ukraine, working closely with our partner agencies in the region, to provide a service and assistance to local and global customers and travelers.”

Sebastien Bazin, CEO of Accor, also commented on the situation during the company’s 2021 full-year earnings call this week. He said around 1% of the group’s network was in Ukraine, but added that this was “irrelevant”.

“We have about 2,000 people in Russia and a few hundred in Ukraine and we are there for them and we feel it. I have spoken to my general managers and my CEO in these regions and I have put the numbers aside for the next 24 hours, the next days ahead of us, the most important thing is to make sure people are safe, make sure you provide them with everything they need and make sure they know you are the.”