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.
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.
EXKLUSIV: EU-Staaten machen Luftraum für russische Airlines dicht. Ist mir gerade aus verlässlicher Quelle bestätigt worden.
— Matthias Deiss (@MatthiasDeiss) February 26, 2022
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.
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.
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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