Russian airlines have received a note from the Federal Aviation Agency warning about a possible suspension of charter flights to Turkey, media reports have said. Such a move would be a renewed blow to Turkey's economy.
A leading travel industry lobby group warned Russian airline operators that charter flights to Turkey might again be halted amid increasing tensions between the two nations over Syria.
Moscow and Ankara have been at odds over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with Turkey pouring additional oil into the fire by explicitly welcoming the recent US missile strike on Syria and calling for Assad's ouster as soon as possible.
Russia by contrast has backed the Syrian leader, with Turkey's stance threatening to worsen relations with Moscow.
Charter flights between Russia and Turkey were only resumed in August of last year after they were completely stopped following Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.
The suspension of charter flights back then had a devastating impact on tourism in Turkey, with the number of Russian tourists dropping to around 850,000 in 2016, down from over 3.5 million a year earlier.
Bloomberg reported the Russian Tourist Industry Union said there were currently four to five times more orders for charter flights than in 2016.
Tourism in Turkey accounts for over 6 percent of domestic economic output and 8 percent of employment.
hg/jd (Reuters, Tass, Bloomberg)