Airlines are rerouting routes to avoid Russia and Ukraine
Airlines around the world are rerouting their flight routes following the recent increase in flight restrictions in airspace following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The European Union banned Russian planes from crossing its airspace, triggering Moscow’s mutual ban on European planes.
Late last week, commercial airlines from Europe were warned to avoid Ukrainian airspace and the surrounding nations of Belarus and Moldova. While many flights have been diverted due to aviation sanctions, some have been diverted due to safety precautions.
Since March 2, airlines flying through the region have given Ukraine a wide berth. The bulk of passenger planes still crossing Russian airspace – like Aeroflot,
Rossiya Airlines, Ural Airlines and Utair – Russian-owned or affiliated. Some international airlines still operate in the area. Among them are airlines based in countries neighboring Russia, such as Belavia Belarusian Airlines, Air Astana of Kazakhstan and Turkish Airlines.
Finland’s Finnair has been forced to divert many of its flights out of the region its planes normally pass through. A Finnair flight from Stockholm to Phuket, Thailand, now flies south-east towards Saudi Arabia instead of via Russia. While this route change hasn’t significantly impacted the duration of the routinely 11-hour flight, aviation sanctions have resulted in hour-long delays in some other cases.
A detour around Russia is costly and adds about 700 nautical miles for a Frankfurt-Beijing flight, which is normally 4,217 nautical miles, according to Eurocontrol, which manages Europe’s air traffic control system. This increased the flight time for passengers on board Lufthansa by almost two hours to a total of 10 hours and 27 minutes Inc
Flight on February 27 compared to the same flights that took place three days earlier.
Certain northern routes that normally fly via Russia may require more time-consuming changes. According to an analysis by Alton Aviation Consultancy, a hypothetical rerouted round trip flight between London and Tokyo could mean an additional 2 hours and $25,000 in round trip fuel costs.
Russia has not banned Korean Air Lines co
from the sky, allowing the South Korean carrier to maintain its fast Chicago-Seoul route. Without Russian airspace, Korean Air would have to take a longer route, similar to United Airlines Holdings inc
British Airways is also affected by the closed airspace and, among other things, had to divert flight BA142 from New Delhi to London. Like the Finnair flight, this plane faced south-east and flew under Ukraine and over the Black Sea rather than over Russia and Kazakhstan. The diversion resulted in a 15-minute increase for passengers on board March 1 compared to those who flew on February 23.
Experts warn that as more airlines establish routes that bypass Russian airspace, flight times will increase, costs rise and revenues fall.
Corrections & Enhancements
The rerouting of a British Airways flight from New Delhi to London added 15 minutes to the flight time on March 1 compared to February 23. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that the comparison was made to a flight on February 25th. (Corrected on March 3rd)
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8