Minsk may leave Russian tourists in flight
Russian tourists who have already ordered tickets from Belavia for flights to countries to which air travel from Russia has been interrupted are now actively looking for a way to get their money back. The prospects are still very vague. If you’re lucky, the compensation will be paid by Russian operators using the Belarusian company as an intermediary.
But if tickets are bought directly from Belavia, then you will have to fight for damages: the Belarusians will obviously not have enough money for compensation, and the terms of fulfilling a promise for a flight in a similar direction, but only in the future, risk stretching indefinitely.
The EU’s ban on flights in the airspace of Belarus and cooperation with Belavia was a real blow to Russians who use the services of a state operator to get to countries with a moratorium on flights with Russia. It is no secret that due to political differences or in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, flights from our country to Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and other states were terminated. In order to still visit these countries, the Russians had to select alternative routes. The flight through Belarus looked the most attractive, since the ticket prices at Belavia were always much lower than those of other international carriers. After Europe “banned” air connections with the disgraced republic, it is unlikely that it will be possible to save money. Moreover, it will be extremely difficult, and maybe even impossible, to return the money for the tickets already purchased.
According to the head of the Internet portal Avia.ru Roman Gusarov, domestic tourists, who until recently used Belarus as a transit hub for flights to countries with which direct flights from Russia are still closed, can be divided into two categories. The first includes people who have issued a trip both to Minsk and to closed states with a single ticket from Russian operators. Our companies are attracting Belavia aircraft under a partnership agreement. In this case, Russian carriers are responsible for non-compliance with the contract for their services, therefore, they will need to be contacted for compensation. It is unlikely that domestic airlines will refuse to refund their compatriots, as this threatens with numerous lawsuits and can negatively affect the operator’s image.
The second category of Russian tourists is less fortunate. If they entered into agreements for a flight to Minsk and to the final point of the route with Belavia, then they will have to claim damages from the Belarusian carrier. “It is rather difficult to calculate the volume of such passenger traffic – it will be necessary to request data from Minsk, which is now clearly not in the mood to provide such information. Nevertheless, we can say for sure: if all the injured Russians simultaneously turn to the Belarusians with such a request, Belavia is unlikely to have enough free funds to pay compensation and the Russians who have reserved tickets for this route run the risk of staying, as stated in the “flight”.
“Alternatively, the Belarusian company can provide Russian customers with vouchers, in which it promises to guarantee a flight on the ordered route in the future – after the restrictions are lifted. Similar evidence was issued by German air carriers when the coronavirus pandemic began and a general quarantine was declared. However, in the case of Belarus, the sanctions against which have just been announced, it will take a long time to wait for new tickets, as well as compensation for damage: everything will depend on the pragmatism of Europe, whose companies also suffer from the ban on the use of Belarusian airspace. Perhaps the restrictions will last until the end of the summer, and perhaps they will drag on indefinitely. In this case, it is possible that Russian tourists who book a flight from Belavia will have to say goodbye to their money, ”the expert warns.
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