Russia’s S7 Airlines suspended from Oneworld

The global airline alliance says it’s a mutual decision, citing restrictions on international flights.

By David Flynn, April 20 2022
Russia’s S7 Airlines suspended from Oneworld

There’s an empty seat around the Oneworld table, with the alliance suspending the membership of Russian carrier S7 Airlines.

“Due to the restriction of international flights, the business interaction between S7 Airlines and the Oneworld alliance has been significantly reduced,” S7 said in a statement.

“In this situation, S7 Airlines and Oneworld made a joint decision from April 19, 2022 to suspend the agreement.”

The move follows a decision at the end of February by more than 30 European countries to close their airspace to Russian airlines due to the ongoing Ukrainian War.

S7 Airlines no longer appears on the Oneworld website’s roster, with the airline noting that  “privileges within the Oneworld alliance will be temporarily unavailable.”

Those topically include status-based perks such as lounge access, priority services and a more generous checked baggage allowance, along with the ability to earn frequent flyer points or miles under the loyalty program of another Oneworld airline on an S7 flight.

However, S7 says it is retaining “the benefits of existing bilateral agreements between S7 Airlines and partner airlines”, but even that’s not without wrinkles.

Issuing award tickets booked with miles and points on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways and Iberia has also been suspended, along with “the accrual of miles.”

“Miles refund requests for flights prior to these dates will be processed within 45 days,” S7 promises.

“For all Qatar Airways flights, the option to earn miles is available, but issuance of award tickets is temporarily suspended.”

S7 Airlines flies into turbulent times

With a modern fleet of Airbus and Boeing jets, the carrier connected Russia to western Europe and Asia under charismatic leader in Vladislav Filev, an amateur pilot who created the nation’s largest private carrier.

But following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Filev and the airline he built are left stuck between international sanctions that have prompted leasing firms to reclaim their aircraft and a Russian government determined to keep its aviation industry aloft.

The 58-year-old Filev and his wife Natalia, who died in a single-engine aircraft crash in Germany in 2019, took over the carrier in the 1990s.

The couple found success after dumping the antiquated Soviet fleet and adopting western jetliners that they painted bright green. As Russia’s middle class advanced, so did S7, making the Filevs one of Russia’s richest couples.

Coming out of the coronavirus doldrums, the company had big plans for 2022, including launching a new low-cost carrier this summer and restoring service to vacation markets such as Italy, Spain, and Thailand; the airline also was set to initiate an aggressive push into Germany.

Instead, S7 has grounded all its international operations and is focusing entirely on its home market and steering clear of foreign territory to prevent confiscation of the planes.

With the European Union blocking Russian airlines from its airspace and S7 risking repossessions of its planes should they land outside Russian borders, flying has been restricted to domestic destinations.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

Been wondering when this was going to happen. Guess I got my answer.

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