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Cancun Sees First Canceled Russian Flights Since Ukrainian Conflict Began

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Aeroflot Cuts Route After Aerospace Issues Make The Flight Impractical 

Cancun is beginning to see the first effects of the Ukrainian conflict after Aeroflot decided to cut flights to the popular tourist destination. Aerospace limitations appear to be the main reason for the decision.

aeroflot plane

The tourist industry worldwide is expected to feel varying consequences over the coming weeks in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Several problems are arising from the conflict that could impact travelers to Cancun.

The Association of Tour Operators Of Russia (ATOR) decided to suspend the sales of all flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and the entirety of Latin America after the EU imposed aerospace restrictions. Most of the flights headed west to the region would directly violate international laws if they crossed over the EU, meaning a massive workaround would have been necessary. However, any solutions would be drastically impractical and very expensive for tourists.

departures board

Currently, Mexico has not introduced any aerospace bans on Russian aircraft, and the Mexican President is suggesting there will not be any. He is also refusing to follow suit with many other countries to impose sanctions on the Russians. In theory, if Aeroflot committed to finding a way around the aerospace issues, Mexico would take Russian flights once more.

A more significant issue for an estimated 150 thousand Russians who are currently abroad is getting back to their country. The Caribbean is now hosting around 27 thousand of those. It is unclear how many are in Mexico and, in turn, Cancun. 

cancun airport again

In the past decade, Russian tourists to Mexico have drastically increased, and the onset of the pandemic only increased the demand for Cancun and Quintana Roo. In 2021, 75 thousand Russian visited Mexico, with an estimated 81% of those coming to Cancun. Before the invasion, 78 thousand Russians had already booked tickets to the city. It is assumed that those seats will not be arriving in Cancun unless there is a swift resolution to the conflict. 

ukraine airlines

Several thousand Ukrainians had also booked tickets for Cancun and will most likely be unable to visit. Although a much smaller number, it was expected around 33 thousand Ukrainians would visit Cancun in 2022, representing approximately 30 million dollars in tourist expenditure.

Although the numbers of Russians may seem small in the grand scheme of Cancun’s success, it was estimated that the Russian market brought in over 80 million dollars a year to the local tourist industry. With the current economic sanctions, economic collapse is a significant fear. If this happened, even the end of the conflict would not see a return to Cancun for the vast majority of that market.

ukraine protest

The broader effects of the conflict remain to be seen, but with Russia controlling such a large percentage of oil globally, the increase in prices could be drastic both in Europe and the US. European visitors may avoid long-haul flights, and even Americans may be prompted to avoid traveling until prices stabilize somewhat.

Although the numbers of Russian and Ukrainian visitors may not have any immediate impact on current visitors to Cancun, the conflict is still something to keep an eye on regarding potential trips. The ripple effects of a major conflict involving so many world powers are likely to further impact prices and change many markets’ spending patterns.

cancun airport

Cancun is still in the green zone of Mexico’s epidemiological traffic light system and is expecting thousands of added tourists over the entirety of March, with a peak in April over the Easter holidays

aeroflot plane

Those traveling to Cancun should keep on top of any restriction changes. Those arriving from Europe should contact their airline provider to ensure there are no issues stemming from the Ukrainian conflict.  

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