Russia suspended all flights to Tanzania and restricted services to Turkey on April 15 until at least June 1, in line with a decision made by the Russian Anti-Coronavirus Crisis Centre headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova. Flights will resume as soon as the Covid-19 situation in those countries stabilises, she said.

All passenger and cargo flights have been suspended under the rules except for two scheduled flights between Moscow and Istanbul Airport per week by a Russian carrier - the flag carrier Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) - and two by a Turkish carrier, likely Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Airport).

Charter flights ensuring the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant's ongoing construction in southern Turkey, which the Russian state-owned atomic energy corporation Rosatom is helping to build, have also been allowed to continue.

It is not the first time Russia has cut air travel to and from other countries during the pandemic. On April 16, it extended the suspension of flights with the United Kingdom until June 1, with the crisis centre citing “the protection of public health” from new variants of Covid-19 in that country. Earlier this year, on January 28, the centre approved the resumption of routes between Russia and both Greece and Singapore starting on February 8.

Golikova stressed that Russian nationals already in Turkey would be able to return home on charter flights. Andrei Ignatyev, president of the Russian Union of the Travel Industry, told the news agency TASS that as of April 13, around 30,000 Russian tourists were vacationing in Turkey and several hundred on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. More than 530,000 Russians had been due to go on holiday to Turkey between now and the end of May and about 6,500 to Tanzania.

The daily Kommersant reported that 60,000 to 70,000 Russian nationals who had connecting flights in Turkey might experience problems returning to Russia.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, eight Russian airlines had been conducting scheduled flights between Russia and Turkey - Aeroflot and its subsidiaries Pobeda and Rossiya as well as Azur Air, Nordwind Airlines, S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines, and UTair - as had three Turkish carriers, Turkish Airlines, Corendon Airlines, and Pegasus Airlines.

Zanzibar was the only airport in Tanzania that Russian airlines were operating flights to, from Ekaterinburg and Kazan International (both with the charter carrier Royal Flight), Moscow Sheremetyevo (Nordwind Airlines and Royal Flight), and Moscow Vnukovo (Azur Air and UTair).

Despite new coronavirus cases in Russian-annexed Crimea nearly doubling in recent days, the Black Sea peninsula is now anticipating a massive influx of Russian tourists due to the measures imposed on Turkey, Natalia Penkova, Crimea’s chief sanitary official, told the Interfax news agency on April 14. She warned that the situation “once again requires tighter restrictions.”