On January 11, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that foreign airlines may be allowed to carry football fans within Russia during FIFA 2018 World Cup. According to Russian law, only national carriers can perform flights within the country borders. In order to make transportation for foreign fans more accessible, the transport ministry of Russia intends to open access to some domestic routes.

According to Sokolov, foreign applicants will gain an unprecedented access to Russian skies. “We hope this should help alleviate probable travel constraints on routes to hosting cities,” Sokolov said.

The FIFA World Cup tournament will begin on June 14 and will last till July 15. The games will take place in 11 different cities in the European part of Russia, including not only Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, but also Kazan, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Samara, Saransk, and Volgograd. Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Holidays already announced special travel packages that were designed to make the main sports event of the year as accessible as possible. The travel packages will include flights, hotels, and official FIFA 2018 World Cup tickets. Qatar Airways has already boosted capacity to Russia and now offers flights to Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. The Qatari airline will perform its daily St.Petersburg service on Airbus A320s.