The Czech Republic to Close Airspace to Russian Airlines

The Czech Republic will probably ban all Russian air operators from using its airspace, the agency Ria Novosti reports. 

The move will be the second of its kind in the European Union.

In fact, Poland already banned all Russian air operators, the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has announced.

“I have ordered the Cabinet of Ministers to prepare a decree which will result in the closing of Polish airspace for all Russian airlines,” he declared in a Facebook post.

Poland is an important transit country for Russian airlines on most of their westbound flights. As they are not allowed to overfly Ukraine, Belarus, and south-western Russia due to the ongoing military activities accompanying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they have been forced to take a detour via Poland.

Direct services between Russia and Poland are operated by Aeroflot (from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Warsaw Chopin) and LOT Polish Airlines (from Warsaw to Sheremetyevo and St. Petersburg).

While Aeroflot will no longer be allowed to serve Poland once the ban enters into force, LOT continues to schedule services to both Russian cities.

Britain has already banned Russia’s Aeroflot from flying to the UK — a move which saw Russia retaliate with a tit-for-tat ban on British Airways and blocking British airlines from flying over Russian airspace in transit to Asia.

Moscow has promised to respond to any sanctions the West slaps on it as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a military offensive on Ukraine.

The moves could seriously restrict both European and Russian airlines’ ability to fly across the continent as well as to the Middle East and Asia.

European airlines are already barred from flying over Belarus. Russian airlines are permanently blocked from operating in Ukrainian airspace, while the country’s airspace has completely shut down since the Russian invasion.

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