Travel-booking giant Sabre Corp. said it has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, hurting the Russian flag carrier’s ability to sell tickets. The Southlake, Texas, company’s European rival, Amadeus Group IT, said it is also removing Aeroflot from its network.
The companies’ actions are among the latest efforts of nations and corporations across the world to distance themselves from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian airlines have been a prime target of sanctions as European Union countries, the U.S and Canada have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft. Earlier this week aerospace companies Boeing and Airbus halted service support and spare parts supplies to Russian carriers.
Sabre said it is “taking immediate steps” to remove the airline from its global distribution system, or GDS, which is a vital marketplace where travel agencies, travel websites and companies make flight reservations.
“We are taking a stand against this military conflict. We are complying, and will continue to comply, with sanctions imposed against Russia,” said Sabre CEO Sean Menke.
The company said it is monitoring the situation in Ukraine and “will evaluate whether additional actions would be appropriate, taking into account legal considerations and any counter measures that could be implemented in response.”
In a statement Amadeus said, “In light of the attacks on Ukraine we immediately stopped any new planned commercial projects in Russia. We will not sign any new contracts in Russia and we continue to evaluate our existing portfolio of work in Russia in parallel.”
The Madrid-based company also confirmed that it has begun “suspending the distribution of Aeroflot fares in our systems.”
Under EU sanctions, European aircraft leasing companies will have to repossess planes they have leased to Russian airlines. However, a person familiar with the situation at Aeroflot said the airline will not return the aircraft—a tactic that could severely disrupt the airline industry.
In a report earlier this week titled, “Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: An Unwelcome Hit to Aircraft Leasing and Aviation,” ratings agency KBRA in New York said repossessing the aircraft, reportedly more than 500, would be difficult under current widespread airspace restrictions and given certain legal requirements.
Aeroflot did not respond immediately to a request for comment.