Russian wildfire smog disrupts air travel

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Russian wildfire smog disrupts air travel

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Airport officials in Moscow are warning that delays and cancelled flights could get worse and have an international impact as thick smog continues to engulf the capital.

Frustration is growing among passengers as their travel plans are disrupted due to the choking smoke from countless wildfires erupting amid record summer temperatures.

“I have been sitting here since yesterday,“said one woman passenger. “I am getting mad. It’s impossible, they combine flights, they separate flights. It’s unclear what’s happening.”

At least 52 people have died and dozens more hospitalised due to the fires.

The sick and infirm are most at risk from respiratory problems and Muscovites are being told to stay in doors.

More than 120 so called “anti-smog” air conditioned centres have been opened in the capital to give elderly residents a chance to get their breath back.

Over the past few weeks the fires in much of central and western Russia have scorched an area the size of Luxembourg in the worst drought for 50 years.

Despite more than 2,000 destroyed homes, insurance claims are few and far between as only seven per cent of Russians are said to insure their property.

The impact on Russian agriculture is another matter.