Air India has cancelled its twice-a-week flight from Delhi to Moscow after being unable to secure insurance coverage because of the heightened threat perception given the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sources told NDTV on Wednesday.
All Air India flights are insured by international agencies, sources said. The airline is among those that continue to use Russian airspace following the country's attack on Ukraine.
The Russian embassy on Wednesday had reported that the Indian flag carrier, now controlled by the Tata Group, had stopped selling tickets on the Delhi-Moscow-Delhi route and the prospects of the flight are unclear.
"Dear fellow citizens. We draw your attention that the Indian airline Air India has stopped selling tickets on the Delhi-Moscow-Delhi route, the prospects for resuming flights of this airline to Russia are uncertain at the moment. According to Air India office, passengers are entitled to the full refund for the cancelled flights," the Russian embassy said in a statement on its Telegram channel, according to state-run news agency TASS.
However, the Russian embassy said that it was still possible to fly to Moscow from Delhi using transit routes through Tashkent, Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and other destinations.
Earlier this week, Russia said it plans to end COVID-19 restrictions on flights to and from 52 "friendly countries" after Saturday. These include those that have not joined the latest wave of Western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all 27 members of the European Union, in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector.
Punitive measures imposed by Western powers have also forced Western firms to terminate leasing contracts with Russian airlines for over 500 aircraft.
The sanctions also prevent Russian airlines from buying aircraft parts or maintenance services from Europe or the United States, adding to the pressure on the world's 11th largest aviation market from a ban on using North American and European airspace.