UK and Russia impose airspace bans on each other

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The UK and Russia have both implemented airspace bans on each others’ airlines.

The UK government was the first to act – on Thursday the UK banned Russian airline Aeroflot from landing at the country’s airport as part of sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian air navigation service Rosaviatsia then announced a ban on flights of aircraft owned, leased or operated by a “person associated with the UK or registered in the UK”, to points in the territory of the Russian Federation, including transit flights through the airspace of the Russian Federation.

Rosaviatsia said the ban imposed by the UK included aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with Russia or registered in Russia.

The BBC reports that as a result Virgin Atlantic has suspended its four-times-per week cargo-only flights between Heathrow and Shanghai.

Meanwhile, the carrier has altered some flight routes between the UK, Pakistan and India, extending flying times by between 15-60 minutes.

British Airways said it had cancelled flights to Moscow and had re-routed operations to Delhi and Singapore around Russian airspace.

FlightGlobal reports chief executive of British Airways owner IAG, Luis Gallego, as saying the airline’s capacity to the east was “very much reduced” amid continued Covid-related travel restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region, meaning the impact of the developments was limited.

Nevertheless, the group continues to monitor the impact of crisis in Ukraine, he said.

FlightGlobal’s report said that access to Russian airspace is particularly important for services between the UK and the Asia Pacific region, as the most efficient flight paths usually involve crossing the vast expanse of Siberia.

Air Cargo News has contacted the Volga-Dnepr Group, which includes AirBridgeCargo, Atran Airlines and Volga-Dnepr, and UK freighter operator CargoLogicAir for an update on their operations.

Data from FlightRadar24 shows that CargoLogicAir’s two B747 freighters have carried out several transatlantic flights in recent days.

Volga-Dnepr and AirBridgeCargo aircraft have also been conducting several flights in recent days.

Meanwhile, Volga-Dnepr Group yesterday announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA), a non-profit membership association that works to empower humanitarian logistics professionals and organisations around the world with delivering aid more effectively.

“The MoU will serve to advance the joint thought leadership activities of the Group and the HLA in the humanitarian sector and will support learning and knowledge sharing especially for healthcare delivery.

“The Group offers the services of its dedicated fleet of over 40 freighters, along with integrated logistics solutions for the sensitive and sophisticated cargo required for delivering crucial humanitarian aid, such as vaccines, medicines, PPE, and medical equipment.”

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Established in 1983, Air Cargo News is the leading source of news, information, interviews, analyses and reports to the global airfreight industry. Our leading portfolio includes print, digital and events that give businesses in the airfreight industry the ability to connect with decision-makers in this sector.