Russia’s unprovoked attack towards its neighbor and former USSR member state of Ukraine, will change many hopeful plans in the aviation sector of Europe.
European airlines were planning for a full recovery for leisure travel this summer after battling COVID-19 and travel restrictions for the past two years.
Unfortunately a new cold war is about to descend again in Europe, especially in eastern Europe.
The new “friction line” between the Russian Federation and NATO countries will quickly descend in eastern Europe. Both sides are likely to “militarize” this new friction line.
Map: Wikipedia. NATO countries.
Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden will have to decide which side they are on. Finland may take a hit on tourism because of its close proximity to Putin’s Russia.
Countries along the new “friction line”, like Poland, are likely to see a decrease in travel this summer compared with 2019. Who wants to vacation in a new war zone? Not many people.
New sanctions against Russia could further restrict travel for Russians. Sanctions against Russia could make leisure travel difficult if their roubles are worth less. There may be a lot less Russians traveling this summer. There is already a run on U.S. dollars in Moscow. Good luck Russians on using your currency this summer.
Will citizens from western NATO countries want to travel to eastern Europe? Probably not. Vacation destinations in nearby Turkey may take a hit, especially Antalya, the “Russian Rivera”.
People in western Europe desiring a well-deserved vacation may stay closer to home this summer due to rising tensions. “Safe vacation locations” may be those furthest away from the new friction line, such as Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Palma or the Canary Islands in Spain.
U.S. airlines, especially United Airlines, were banking on a robust return of travel to Europe. With a new European war, albeit maybe a short one, stealing headlines for the next few months, travel to Europe may suffer. This could affect plans and bookings.
Russia may overwhelm its neighbor and install a puppet government but resistance in Ukraine could continue for months, if not years.
Headlines are not good for travel. People need to feel safe.
Putin’s unprovoked actions could put some airlines out of business including those in Russia.
Due to the war and perceived shortages, petroleum is again over $100 a barrel. This war will further impact supply chain issues. Airlines in North America will see rising fuel prices.
Aviation fuel is now likely to remain high through this summer. Some routes cannot support high fuel costs.
Bottom Line: War is not good for travel. A new cold war is not good for travel. High fuel costs are also not good for travel or the airlines. Some airlines will not see the rosy summer they though they were going to see. Putin just changed a lot of plans.