Following an EU’s announcement that most European nations will implement flight bans, Russian airlines face a near-total airspace blockade to the country’s west.
On Sunday, a formal decision on the measure is likely.
European countries, one by one, announced that their airspace will be closed for three months, including Germany.
Due to airspace restrictions over Ukraine, Russian planes have few choices for westbound travel.
On Sunday, scores of flights were cancelled at Moscow’s Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports, including planes to Paris, Vienna, and Kaliningrad.
S7 Airlines, based in Russia, said on Facebook that it will halt flights to several of its European destinations until at least March 13th.
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, has announced that flights to Latvia and Romania would be cancelled until at least March 26th, while flights to Prague and Warsaw will be cancelled until March 28th.
In the meanwhile, Russia has retaliated by imposing tit-for-tat restrictions on nations that have banned its aircraft.
Private aircraft and Russian-owned planes are no longer permitted to fly over the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. Russian jets have also been barred from flying over the United Kingdom.
Several more EU nations have now joined the campaign to block Russian planes from flying through their airspace.
Finland, which shares an 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) border with Russia, is “preparing to block its airspace to Russian jet traffic,” according to the Associated Press. Timo Harakka, Finland’s Transport Minister, posted on Twitter.
Belgium’s Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, said European skies were “open for those who link people, not for those who aim to ruthlessly aggress,” while France and the Netherlands will block their airspace from now until the end of the year. Evening of Sunday
On Twitter, Denmark’s foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, stated that his nation will block its airspace and advocate for an EU-wide ban.
Ireland and Austria have backed a European Union-wide ban.
Travel restrictions over several of Russia’s western countries will force airlines to take convoluted routes, resulting in lengthier flight durations.
Finland’s decision may force Russian jets to use the Gulf of Finland, which is about 74 miles (120 kilometres) wide at its widest point, as the only plausible route to European nations that have not yet banned flights.
Following Russia’s incursion, commercial planes are avoiding airspace near Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus.
Delta Air Lines, based in the United States, has announced the suspension of a flight booking arrangement with Russia’s Aeroflot.
The United Kingdom’s embargo on Russian aircraft prompted Moscow to counter by imposing a similar restriction on British planes.
Avoiding Russia would add 15 to an hour to Virgin Atlantic’s flights between the UK and India and Pakistan, according to the airline.
Qantas, an Australian airline, has announced that its direct trip between Darwin and London would take a longer route that avoids flying over Russia.
(Adapted from BBC.com)
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