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Emirates CEO defends airline's decision to continue flying to Russia, says it's 'connecting people'

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Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, CEO of the Emirates Group, says the airline is "connecting people" by still flying to Russia.
  • Emirates' CEO says it's "connecting people" by continuing to fly to Russia.
  • Many major air carriers have pulled out of Russia amid sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
  • Emirates is owned by the Dubai government, which has not instructed the carrier to stop serving Russia.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Emirates is "connecting people" by still flying to Russia, the airline's CEO said on Tuesday as he defended the airline's decision to continue serving routes to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

"It's a government decision. We haven't got any instruction really to stop flights there," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told CNBC. The Dubai government owns Emirates.

Emirates is one of the few airlines still serving Russia after major carriers pulled out of the country amid sweeping sanctions over the Ukraine war. Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, which hasn't condemned Russia for the war in Ukraine or imposed sanctions against the country.

Al Maktoum said Emirates' services to Russia serve to link up people between the country and the UAE.

"We're connecting people between the two countries," Al Maktoum told CNBC. "We shouldn't really mix up between people and government decisions."

In March, Emirates' President Tim Clark also defended the airline's flights to Russia.

"We carry humanitarian goods in our holds. We've got NGOs traveling in and out of Russia. We've got the diplomatic community going in and out of Russia ... so all we're doing is being an enabler, facilitator, without taking a political position on this for the time being," said Clark, according to  Reuters.

Other major airlines still serving Russia include Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways.


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