As the most passionate aviation enthusiast might have seen, most European countries have closed their airspace to Russian flights. As predictable the Russian authorities retaliated by reciprocating this measure for many airlines. So what is going on to flights from Europe to Asia?
Why Is The Russian Airspace So Important?
Simply put, the route that takes planes to fly over the northern regions of Russia is the shortest way to get from Europe to the far east.
Although Russia charges a hefty fee, this is the cheapest way to get goods and passengers between these regions. With Russia closing its airspace to most of Europe’s airlines how will these routes change?
How Are Airlines Changing Their Europe-Asia Flight Paths?
So far, on Sunday the 27th of February 2022, the Russian airspace is still open to all Chinese air carriers along with Korean and Japanese airlines.
This means that these services will continue to connect the far east to the central Europe without any change in route or operational disruption. But we cannot foresee if this will change in the coming hours and days.
For European air carriers things are changing drastically starting yesterday. In fact, most European airlines are now banned from flying over Russia.
This means that the likes of Lufthansa, British Airways, LOT, Finnish and so on have been forced to find alternative routes to China, Japan and South Korea.
To avoid having to completely give up on these routes these airlines are now flying the southern, longer route to the far east.
For instance a flight from Munich, Germany, to Seoul, South Korea, now has to make its way south immediately after take off and fly over:
- Turkey/Black Sea
This is understandably a longer route that will increase both total flying time and operating costs of the journey.
What Does it Translate To For Passengers?
If you were so unfortunate to find yourself on one the flights that had to make a u-turn while in Russian airspace, you probably had to put up with a night in an airport hotel.
If you have a ticket then, at the current state of affairs, things don’t change significantly. Flights are still normally scheduled, however you’ll have to put up with a longer flight to your destination in one direction of the other.
If you don’t have a ticket and are looking to book in the upcoming days with a European Airline, you might see the fares rise. If this situation in which flights have to vary their route making it longer, airlines will adjust they pricing to reflect the higher operational costs. Costs of many far east carriers were already pretty high.