On Thursday, the global flight reservation company Sabre announced that it is kicking Russian flag carrier Aeroflot off of its worldwide system in retaliation for the Russian government's invasion of Ukraine.
“Sabre has been monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine with increasing concern. From the beginning, our primary focus has been the safety of our team members in the impacted region, as well as doing our part to support the much-needed relief efforts,” said Sabre CEO Sean Menke in a statement. “We are taking a stand against this military conflict. We are complying, and will continue to comply, with sanctions imposed against Russia. In addition, today we announced that Sabre has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, removing its content from our GDS.”
Sabre's system is critical to travel infrastructure around the world, helping corporations and travel agencies book flight itineraries as well as being used by some travel sites to facilitate bookings.
Aeroflot (literally "air fleet" in Russian) is one of the world's oldest airlines. Originally the publicly-run flag carrier of the Soviet Union, it was semi-privatized after the dismantling of the Communist system in the 1990s, although the Russian government retains a 51 percent ownership of the company's shares, making it effectively still a state-owned enterprise.
This comes after a number of other moves from governments and companies to restrict Russian aircraft in NATO airspace. Delta Air Lines, the co-founder of the SkyTeam alliance which includes Aeroflot, canceled codeshare agreements with Aeroflot that allowed their passengers to transfer to the airline. And over the last week, the United States, Canada, and most of Europe have banned Russian aircraft, including passenger airlines, from their airspace altogether.