Airlines find it challenging to deal with the conflict in Europe as Ukraine closed its airspace, fuel prices increased, and the carriers are asked to take caution to deal with Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
With Russia declaring operation in the dawn, several airlines have ceased their operations, even the civil flights. The region in the southwest of Ukraine, Moldova, is the latest to stop the flight operations over the territory.
As per the estimation of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, it is risky to fly within 100 nautical miles, about 185km, of borders with Ukraine. The agency has issued a warning to the airlines, citing to exercise caution, while flying in air traffic regions controlled from Moscow or Rostov-on-Don.
Russia utilises a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems, which poses a high risk even for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels. There is also a risk of intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft.
According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Russia’s defence ministry has issued an urgent warning to Ukraine about flight safety as the military uses weapons of mass destruction and hence asked Ukraine’s air traffic control to cease all flight operations.
Against the backdrop of the war, the US Federal Aviation Administration has also issued limits for US airlines operating in or near Ukraine.
Russia-Ukraine War: Impact on International Airlines
India’s Air India flight, operating on an evacuation mission for bringing back the Indian residents in Ukraine, returned mid-air yesterday after Ukraine closed down Kyiv airport. An El Al flight serving flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto made a U-turn out of Ukraine’s airspace at about the time of its closure. Another LOT Polish Airlines flight from Warsaw to Kyiv turned back. Ukraine International Airlines diverted one Kyiv-bound flight to Moldova. Some of its flights are still stuck at Kyiv airport.
Hungary’s Wizz Air has announced that it is trying to evacuate Ukrainian-based crew, their families and four aircraft. The United Kingdom has informed that it had banned all Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, that operates daily flights to London, from entering UK’s airspace or landing in the UK.
Despite the airspace remaining shut, passengers’ travel demands in Ukraine are still rising.
[With inputs from Reuters]