Aeroflot ban brings Heathrow ‘windfall’ for six airlines

Six airlines have benefited from a redistribution of slots at Heathrow due to sanctions imposed on Aeroflot following the Russian war in Ukraine.

The winter slots allocation published by Airports Co-ordination Limited (ACL) has seen JetBlue expand its transatlantic services, while Aviana, China Airlines, Vistara, WestJet and Virgin Atlantic all gained from the ban on the Russian flag carrier.

Edmond Rose, former chief executive of ACL, described the re-allocation as a “windfall”.

He said: “The diversity of destinations they will serve is impressive, touching four continents.

“JetBlue and Vistara are particularly fortunate to be allocated prized slots for every day of the week. JetBlue’s morning arrivals are especially valuable for transatlantic operations.

“From recollection, the last time Virgin was allocated a daily slot-pair from the pool at Heathrow was well over a decade ago.”

He added: “Hats off, then, to Heathrow’s independent slot co-ordinator for navigating through a tricky minefield to allocate the slots which Aeroflot has lost.”

In May, the UK government imposed fresh sanctions on major Russian airlines, saying it will prevent them from “cashing in” on their unused landing slots at major British airports worth up to £50 million.

The restrictions affected state-owned Aeroflot – Russia’s largest airline – plus Ural Airlines and Rossiya Airlines.

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