Germany: EU to Close Airspace for Planes From Russia

German public broadcaster ARD has reported that the EU has agreed to close its airspace for Russian planes, with Russia likely to retaliate in kind.

Flight ban

According to the studio chief of German public broadcaster ARD, the European Union (EU) has decided to close its airspace for all Russian planes.

ARD studio chief Matthias Deiss wrote on Twitter that “a reliable source confirmed it” that the overflight ban will soon come into effect.


Needless to say, the Russian Government is unlikely to take this lightly and will probably retaliate in kind by banning EU airlines from Russian airspace – and perhaps planes from non-EU NATO members as well.

EU-registered planes flying above Russia on their way to Asia have already been spotted making a sudden U-turn back to Europe, which suggests that Russian Air Traffic Control (ATC) ordered them back.

Lufthansa flight LH718 from Munich to Seoul Incheon turned back while flying over the Ural Mountains and eventually landed back at Munich Airport on its flight to nowhere.

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A Lufthansa flight from Munich to Seoul suddenly turned around while flying over Russia. ©Flightradar24


It’s of course too early to tell what the consequences will be as the airspace closures still have to be officially announced.

However, it’s likely that we could see EU airlines being banned from flying over Russia, which would create significant problems for flights between Europe and the Far East.

It would not be a novel situation, as in the Cold War western airlines were banned from overflying the Soviet Union.

This is why in those years a lot of planes took a westerly route to Asia, with many airlines opting for Anchorage Airport in Alaska as a refuelling stop.

Although this will be a significant detour for EU airlines (and thus costly) – it will also create financial problems for Russia as the country will no longer receive overflight fees.

aeroflot boeing 737 engine wing tip winglet
To reach destination in the Far East of Asia, European airlines would normally fly over Siberia. ©Paliparan


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has really turned the world upside down – and we will soon also see the consequences of this in world aviation.

If the EU will indeed ban Russian planes from its airspace, Russia will respond in kind, leading to European airlines being banned from flying over Russia.

This will create a further financial strain on EU airlines which are already strapped for cash after the COVID pandemic.

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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2 thoughts on “Germany: EU to Close Airspace for Planes From Russia

  • February 27, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    We live in a bad time Koen and it does feel from a travel point of view as though we are taking a big step backwards with over-flight bans coming into place – but the sanctions in place are the least I think that can happen for the people of Ukraine, who like the rest of us have a democratic right to determine how we live (to which end I will be leaving the UK later this year as it has made choices I can’t live with!).

    To reminisce though, when I was a boy and used to visit LHR, I remember looking at the arrival boards which in the day always had several columns, the first was flight number, then from, then last stop, then arrival time and finally status.

    On so many of those flights the last stop was Anchorage and we might just see that again all too soon!

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      February 27, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      I fully agree with you. If we want to protect our democratic values and freedom we must be willing to make sacrifices. Something which will count both for governments as well as us ordinary citizens alike. With all of this happening travel isn’t even the first priority or thing on my mind (I’m writing this being on my way back to Bucharest after a 2-day-stay at the Ukrainian border). At least it’s great to see the humanitarian effort here in Romania and that a lot of people – especially the younger generation – cares and tries to help those in need.


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