Headed to Moscow, Russia, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in June? We sat down with David Kang, account manager for Avplan International Trip Support, who filled us in on the following six main challenges Avplan sees for business aviation:
- Visas: All U.S. passengers must have visas prior to arrival. Crew visas are only available upon arrival at Moscow’s three largest airports: UUWW, UUEE and UUDD. If crew members have to use the on-arrival visa service, they should expect to stay at the airport for a couple of extra hours. Crew members must bring two passport-quality photos and a filled-out application. There will not be a photo service at the airport. If flight departments need to operate somewhere other than these three airports, their crew members must have crew visas prior to arrival.
- Parking: Parking will be limited, and it will be made available for government officials first, then people with connections to the Russian government, and then to the general public. Flight departments ought to anticipate parking issues and probable reposition.
- Cost: This trip will be expensive. While Russia promises pricing will be “more reasonable” than during the Sochi Olympics, those prices were so high they deterred some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and organizations. Russia’s idea of “reasonable” pricing is much higher than what would generally be considered reasonable.
- Slot rules: The slot rules are not yet published. While planning ahead will be necessary for an efficient trip, we have yet to be made aware of how Russia is going to handle its slot rules for the event.
- Accommodations: The five-star hotels that U.S. crews and passengers are accustomed to will be extremely expensive and limited. Furthermore, what Russia classifies as a four-star hotel is more relatable to a three-star hotel in America, if that. There is no middle-class version of hotels.
- Possible future sanctions: The current U.S. administration recently levied more sanctions on Russia; this could escalate and is something that ought to be monitored.
Want more expert insight on traveling to the FIFA World Cup? Check out Curt Epstein’s recent article in AIN.