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As Russian planes face airspace bans, Canada investigates reported Aeroflot violation

By Joe Sutton, Pete Muntean and Karla Cripps, CNN

Updated: Mon, 28 Feb 2022 14:03:38 GMT

Source: CNN

As a growing number of countries move to ban Russian flights from their airspace due to the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, officials in Canada say they are planning to launch an investigation into an Aeroflot flight from Miami to Moscow that entered Canadian airspace Sunday.

"We are aware that Aeroflot flight 111 violated the prohibition put in place earlier today on Russian flights using Canadian airspace. We are launching a review of the conduct of Aeroflot and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN, leading up to this violation. We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations," Transport Canada said Sunday on Twitter.

Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said earlier Sunday that the country's airspace was closed to all Russian aircraft operators.

"We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine," he said in a tweet.

CNN has reached out to Transport Canada and Aeroflot for additional details.

Aeroflot, Russia's national carrier and largest airline, does not offer direct flights to Canada. However, several of its flights traditionally travel through Canadian airspace to the US.

No-go areas in the sky

The Russian Civil Aviation Authority has closed off its airspace to the carriers of 36 countries, it said in a statement on Monday.

According to the agency, the decision was taken in response to the bans imposed by European states on carriers or flights registered in Russia.

On Sunday, the European Union announced it is prohibiting all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft from its airspace.

"These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU," EU President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement issued February 27.

"This will apply to any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person. So let me be very clear. Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane -- and that includes the private jets of oligarchs."

The UK banned Russian flights from its airspace on Thursday, and Russia reciprocated on Friday with a ban on UK registered flights, as well as aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with the UK.

These bans, combined with airspace closures tied to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are creating huge no-fly areas. Long-haul carriers that normally cross Eastern Europe to get to Asia are being forced to re-route or cancel flights altogether.

Finnair, for example, announced on Sunday it's suspending flights in Russian airspace for one week. As a result, they are canceling some flights while rerouting others.

"With this action, we prepare for the possible upcoming regulatory changes," it said in a statement.

"We will cancel our flights to Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo and Shanghai in Asia and to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia on February 27- March 6, 2022.

"We continue flying from Helsinki to Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and Delhi and from Stockholm Arlanda to Bangkok and Phuket. We will avoid using the Russian airspace, which lengthens the travel time approximately one hour." Read more about how the Ukraine conflict could redraw the world air map here.

Delta Air Lines ends partnership with Aeroflot

Though the US has not banned Russian planes from its airspace as of Monday morning, Delta Air Lines announced on Friday it's ending its codeshare agreement with Aeroflot, effective immediately, in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The agreement allowed Delta to ticket its passengers on Aeroflot flights from Moscow and enabled Aeroflot to ticket its passengers on some Delta flights operated from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Los Angeles International Airport.

"We have removed our code from Aeroflot-operated services beyond Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and removed Aeroflot's code from Delta-operated services from Los Angeles and New York-JFK," said a statement from the airline. "Accommodations will be made for customers affected by these changes."

Aeroflot joined the SkyTeam Alliance in 2004, a partnership of 19 international airlines of which Delta is also a member. Delta said it does not operate flights to Ukraine or Russia.

Top image credit: Mikhail Metzel/TASS/Getty Images


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