How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could affect European air travel given the suspension of flights and sanctions imposed by the UK – with Moscow retaliated with its own flight ban in the UK
Image: Marina Lystseva / TASS)
Initially, the closure of Ukrainian airspace meant that some airlines such as Wizz Air and Ryanair had to cancel and suspend flights.
Meanwhile, Britain has imposed sanctions on Russia including a ban on flights by the country’s Aeroflot airline. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also tweeted: “I have signed restrictions banning all scheduled #Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or touching UK soil.”
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Meanwhile, there are also travel restrictions in parts of Moldova and Belarus, which border Ukraine.
As part of a news bulletin focusing on Ukrainian airspace, the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency warned that “critical infrastructure, including airports, is likely to occur military aircraft poses a safety risk to civil aircraft” and “in particular, there is a risk of intentionally targeting and misidentifying civil aircraft”.
Will flights be canceled due to war?
Currently Ukraine’s airspace is closed, meaning flights to and from the country are also banned.
As a result, airlines operating Ukraine flights have suspended their routes, including Wizz Air, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Air France.
For flights that are not direct to Ukraine but use Ukrainian airspace, it is unlikely that these flights will be cancelled.
Marina Lystseva / TASS)
Instead, it is more likely that flights will be rerouted, meaning they can still reach their destination but via a different route. For passengers, this often means longer journey times.
For example, British Airways has warned passengers that the disruption could cause longer journeys, although it is worth noting that the airline is referring to disruption from the Russian ban, as the airline operating routes in Ukrainian airspace.
Which destinations may be affected?
Currently Ukraine’s airspace is closed, and Russia has closed its own airspace to the UK.
Flights from the UK that often use Ukrainian airspace typically include routes to India, Pakistan and long-haul destinations like Singapore. There is already a reduced service for these types of destinations as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, but it is unlikely that flights will be canceled altogether.
They’re more likely to be rerouted instead – again, resulting in longer journey times.
There are also some travel restrictions in Moldova and Belarus.
At the time of writing, there are no further restrictions for other countries near Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be travel disruptions, as flights are being rerouted.
What if I travel?
If you have booked a flight to/from Ukraine or Russia, your flight will be cancelled.
Airlines such as British Airways and Wizz Air are contacting affected passengers and offering options such as refunds or rebooking.
If you have booked a flight through Ukraine or Russia airspace, your flight can still continue but via a different route. It’s best to talk to your airline as they can notify you of any changes to journey times.
Other flights not in the conflict zone will operate as normal.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/news/flights-cancelled-due-war-ukraine-26326444 Will flights be canceled due to war? Ukraine tourism suspended while Moscow bans flights to UK