MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Transport Ministry estimates the losses national airlines suffer because of suspension of flights to China at 1.6 billion rubles ($25.2 mln), Deputy Transport Minister Alexander Yurchik told reporters on Tuesday.
"These are calculations by the Transport Ministry together with the airlines," he said, answering the question of whether the volume of compensation could really amount to 1.6 billion rubles.
Earlier, Russian political Telegram channel Nezygar reported referring to a copy of the minutes of the meeting of the headquarters on prevention of spreading new coronavirus infection in Russia, that the amount of compensation to airlines could amount to 1.6 billion rubles. But, according to Yurchik, this is not the final figure.
"Now, there is a quite difficult discussion with the financial and economic bloc of the government, because it is difficult to determine how to calculate losses," he said.
"From our point of view, losses are due to the fact that aircraft is not used because flights were halted abruptly. But the Finance Ministry does not agree, because an airline can use aircraft for other flights. It certainly will, but firstly, it is low season now, and secondly, it will take one and a half to two months to arrange the use of aircraft on other destinations," he said.
"Therefore, there is a discussion about the methodology for calculating losses. Therefore, these are our preliminary estimates," he added.
On February 1, air traffic between Russia and China was limited to minimize the risks of the spread of coronavirus.
Only Aeroflot, four Chinese airlines operate Sheremetyevo’s China-bound flights. All flights to China are served only at terminal F.
Prior to this, Russian airlines operated about 150 flights to China per week, and Chinese airlines carried out about 40 flights per week.
Until February 1, by Iraero, Aurora, Yakutia, Ural Airlines and Siberia (S7 Airlines) conducted direct flights between Moscow and China alongside with Aeroflot.