On Saturday, the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) recommended that Russian airlines with planes registered in foreign destinations suspend international flights from Sunday "amid mass arrests of aircraft abroad", according to local reports, fearing the aircraft could be seized by foreign governments.
S7 Airlines cancelled all flights to overseas destinations from Saturday after reports that a plane had been detained in Yerevan, Armenia, although this has since been denied.
Ural Airlines also cancelled its operations abroad on Saturday, but is continuing to operate export flights from Egypt until March 14. The carrier said it would not operate flights to the UAE, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Israel until March 26.
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Aeroflot suspends services
Aeroflot, Russia's flag carrier and largest airline, announced on Saturday the suspension of overseas services starting from Tuesday. It will continue domestic operations with the temporary exception on flights to cities in southern Russia. Flights to Minsk, Belarus are also exempt.
"Aeroflot informs about a temporary suspension of all international flights starting 8 March (00:00 MSK) due to new additional circumstances impeding the operation of flights," read a statement on the airline's website.
"International services scheduled by Rossiya Airlines and Aurora Airlines ... will also be suspended."
As of Sunday, Aeroflot stopped admitting passengers holding return tickets for international flights. Those holding one-way tickets will be allowed to board until Tuesday.
"Passengers of cancelled international flights are eligible for a full refund of tickets," it said. There is no need for passengers of cancelled flights to immediately contact the airline for a refund, as this can be done at any time before the end of 2022 or tickets can be rebooked on another route for free, said the airline.
"Passengers of international flights who are currently abroad and holding return tickets with a flight segment from Russia already used can contact the airline to rebook the return segment to Russia before the suspension of flights."
It said that for any passengers still abroad at the time of suspension, the airline will "exercise maximum effort to organise their return" to Russia.
Nordwind, Pegas Fly and Azur Air cancel flights
Smaller and charter airlines also announced suspensions on their services. Nordwind and Pegas Fly, which run in the same alliance, are suspending all international flights from Monday.
This decision has been made "in connection with the emergence of additional circumstances that impede the performance of flights", according to a statement on the Nordwind website.
Passengers with one-way tickets can continue to fly until the moment of suspension, and thereafter apply for a full refund or reschedule the flight for another that's still operating, said the airline.
Azur Air announced a suspension of international flights from Tuesday, with those holding round-trip tickets not allowed to travel from midnight on Sunday.
The charter airline will continue to operate flights for Russians who are abroad in Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vietnam and the Maldives, according to local reports.