How The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Affects Air Travel

Wednesday 2 March 2022 Blog

​​The impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the global aviation industry grew on Friday, with two more European countries banning Russian airlines and the European Union announcing restrictions on airplane parts exports. 

After London and Moscow blacklisted each other's airlines in a tit-for-tat response over the Ukraine incursion, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways began routing flights around Russian airspace.

Despite the threat of a costly sanctions war over mutual overflight rights, some industry leaders said they were ready for more prohibitions. At a meeting on Friday, the governing council of the United Nations' aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, was scheduled to discuss the conflict.

Which Countries Have Closed Their Airspace To Russian Flights?

Airspace To Russian Flights

Following the Russian incursion, Ukraine's airspace was restricted last week. Ukraine's neighbor Moldova, as well as parts of Belarus, restricted their airspace.

The battle has the potential to reshape the global aviation map.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States recently advised US pilots to avoid flying over "the entire country of Ukraine, the entire country of Belarus, and a western portion of Russia."

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, has cautioned that civilian aircraft traveling near the Ukrainian border face a "high danger."

The United States and the United Kingdom have recommended its people to leave Ukraine, and the United States and the United Kingdom have both warned against all travel to Ukraine and Russia.

  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Kosovo
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Ukraine

Countries With Restricted Travel In Response To Russia Invading Ukraine

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • European Union
  • France

Restricted Travel In Response To Russia

Why Do Countries Close Their Airspace During War?

In a war zone bulletin, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) stated, "There is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft."

According to the organization, airspace within 100 nautical miles of Russia's Ukrainian border poses a safety risk.

Lithuania, a member of the European Union and NATO, has declared a state of emergency due to "potential disturbances and provocations" caused by "huge military forces massed in Russia and Belarus." Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis revealed that the government plans to ban Russian flights from its airspace joint effort with Latvia.

Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, when Russia seized the country, the aviation industry has paid closer attention to the dangers of conflict.

The Impact On Summer Travel

Summer is the time for everyone to spend their days at beautiful locations worldwide.

Millions of individuals may now be reconsidering their plans, and a shattered travel industry looking forward to a strong summer season is now facing more uncertainty.

The Federal Aviation Administration enlarged the no-fly zone for US airlines in Eastern Europe to encompass all of Ukraine and Belarus and a portion of western Russia on Thursday.

 Air travel is also becoming more complicated around the world. 

Following Russian Aeroflot flights to the United Kingdom, Russia suspended all British flights from its airspace.

According to the International Air Transport Association, many aircraft will be redirected through neighboring countries. However, the group warned on Thursday that "further airspace closures could impact this scenario."

According to travel experts, some travelers have inquired about whether they should stick with their current arrangements or rebook elsewhere. However, they claim that cancellations have not been a significant issue thus far.

"It's still too early to tell, given the fast shifting environment," said Erika Richter, the American Society of Travel Advisors spokesman.

However, several large travel companies are not waiting to make choices. They've already made changes to many European itineraries and canceled others altogether.

Final Thoughts

No one knows if this is the beginning of a long and complicated journey for the globe or if it will end sooner than we think.

According to CNBC, major US airlines such as American, Delta, and United have increased the number of transatlantic seats since August. JetBlue's service between New York, Boston, and London expanded. 

Airlines worldwide are restoring and expanding service to the United States. 

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