Russia cancels restrictions allowing flights to and from the Czech Republic to resume

Following a review by Russian anti-pandemic staff, the Czech Republic is among the first countries to see air links with Russia fully restored.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass
Published on 27.08.2021 12:27 (updated on 27.08.2021)

Russia has announced a lifting of restrictions allowing the full resumption of flights to the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic and South Korea. The three countries are the first with which Russia has fully resumed air connections since it adopted a quota system for international travel to help tackle the Covid pandemic.

“Nonetheless, no air carrier has yet announced an increase in their number of flights to these countries,” reported the TASS Russian news agency.

The Rossiya carrier currently operates flights from St. Petersburg to Prague, while Aeroflot and the Czech ČSA airlines operate flights between Moscow and Prague.

The announcement of the full resumption of flight connections between the Czech Republic and Russia comes shortly after the Czech government eased entry restrictions for vaccinated people from third countries, on the condition that the vaccine they received has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or an equivalent organization. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has still not been approved by the EMA.

“The Czech Republic remains closed to tourists. Only travellers with a citizenship or residence permit may enter the country, or those traveling there for the purpose of studies or medical treatment,” TASS wrote.

South Korea, another destination to which Russia has lifted restrictions, also remains fully closed to tourists. Only Aeroflot currently operates flights from Russia to the Asian country. Moreover, South Korea canceled its visa-free agreement with Russia and suspended the issuance of visas in April. Connections between the Dominican Republic and Russia are similarly scarce, with Azur Air running charter flights on the route since the start of August.

Russia operates a system of flight quotas determining the number of possible flights allocated to any given country. Earlier this summer, quotas were established for a number of countries, including the USA., while quota limits were raised for a range of other destinations. Russia has now also announced an expanded quota for flights to Egyptian seaside resorts, up from five a week to 15 a week at the two Egyptian airports where flights to Russia currently operate.

The full resumption of flight connections with the Czech Republic means a lifting of these quota limitations. It should be noted, however, that caution on the part of air carriers in introducing additional flights has been a common feature of earlier steps to ease travel restrictions to and from Russia.

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