LONDON – In a breaking news story more EU countries have now joined the actions of the likes of the UK and Poland with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all announcing that effective from 22:00 UTC on February 26, all Russian planes will be banned from accessing their airspace.
If Sweden joins these European countries and Norway follows suit, which we expect them to do in the coming days, it will mean all Russian airlines will only be able to continue to operate flights to Italy, France, and Spain by flying down through turkey.
While it is unclear as to whether or not this news tonight will continue to pile pressure onto the Russian president, this type of airspace block has never before been done by many countries in the 21st century, the closest thing we have to compare it to is the UAE nations banning Qatar from their airspaces in what was deemed to be an illegal blockade, which seriously affected the airline’s ability to operate regular services and schedules.
We are expecting to hear soon that Germany will also ban Russian aircraft from its airspace with some reports saying that Russia has banned Lufthansa from flying into the country, with one Lufthansa flight currently doing a U-turn mid-flight on its way to Seoul, South Korea. LH718, an Airbus A350-900 has made a 180 u-turn around 50 miles west of Moscow and is now appearing to be routed back to Munich International airport, this could be due to a technical fault, but this could also be an indication that Germany is preparing to now ban Russian planes from its airspace also and wants to ensure its citizens and airlines crews are back home safely before the announcement is made.
There is no clear understanding at this time as to where these restrictions for air travel will stop, it is possible we will see cargo and logistical companies like UPS, DHL and FedEx cancel their services to and from Russia, which would seriously put the countries airline industry into a tight neck hold.
It is understood, however, that Finland may not take the same action as its Scandinavian counterparts, with no access to Russian airspace cutting off Finnars ability to fly and services its destinations all over Asia.
This is a Developing news story please stay tuned for updates!