On January 31, various Russian mass media confirmed what many Russians were so afraid of and what many did not want - the coronavirus officially reached Russia. Outside of China, no more than two hundred cases of infection have so far been confirmed around the world, but some countries have already announced the complete cessation of air traffic with China. Either the case is Russia - we do not just do not stop air traffic with the epicenter of a deadly infection, but they also prove that it must never be stopped.
Aeroflot, the leading Russian carrier, through its lobbyists managed to keep all the main flights scheduled - to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, in China, the virus has long climbed beyond the borders of its native province, so it is not necessary to be in Wuhan to get infected. Thus, the preservation of direct flights means a significant risk of rapid progression of the epidemic in Russia.
The only concession that Aeroflot made for the sake of the country's security was to allow passengers who had previously bought tickets to China to hand over tickets. But even such a move, Aeroflot’s gender does not approve of Savelyev - he fears that it will bring even more losses than expensive fuel or the cost of servicing aircraft at airports.
In recent years, the airline has been actively developing precisely the Chinese direction, which helped it to earn a lot on transit passengers from China. According to the corporate strategy, already in the near future 15 million customers of the carrier should be transit, and this is a lot - now the company carries 40 million passengers, which means that “transit companies” make up a huge percentage of its clientele. For the sake of increasing Chinese interest, Aeroflot even ordered 22 new A350s and was planning to repair the interior decoration of all its Boeings of the main 777 series. In Krasnoyarsk, it is still planned to build a huge hub that can create competition for many busy airports in the world.
Without a Chinese passenger, this whole strategy would be meaningless, and the company's shares are projected to fall in price from 114 to 20-30 rubles apiece. It would be a complete fiasco, but it looks like the company will be saved through state support and royalties of $ 800 million.
Aeroflot needs money, and they are paid by the Chinese in transit, and this is important for the air carrier, and not that the Russians risk a terrible threat. As they say, only business - and nothing personal.