In the latest development of the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, Russia has banned British aircraft from entering its airspace.
The move comes in the wake of the UK’s decision earlier this week to ban Russian aircraft, including flag carrier Aeroflot, from landing in the UK.
“Unfriendly decisions” made by the UK
Rosaviatsia, Russia’s civil aviation authority, said of the move:
“This measure was taken in accordance with the provisions of the Intergovernmental Air Services Agreement between Russia and the UK as a response to unfriendly decisions by the UK aviation authorities regarding the restriction on regular flights of aircraft owned, leased or operated by a person associated with Russia or registered in Russia.”
The measures imposed by the UK aviation regulator were part of wider sanctions introduced as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s response “tit for tat”
“I think that’s their retaliation for us yesterday banning Aeroflot from using and landing in the United Kingdom,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told ITV – “that’s their tit for tat response.”
British Airways, which would normally operate three flights weekly between London and Moscow, said in a statement that it will notify travellers booked on cancelled services and offer full refunds accordingly.
“We apologise for the inconvenience but this is clearly a matter beyond our control,” the British flag carrier said – “we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Luis Gallego, IAG boss, said:” We are avoiding Russian airspace for the time being. The impact for us is not huge because right now we are only flying to a small number of destinations in Asia and we can reroute our flights.”
Ukraine’s airspace has been closed since Thursday after Russian forces launched a ‘full-scale invasion’ of the country. Ukraine’s southern neighbour Moldova followed by announcing it was also closing its airspace.
For how long will British aircraft be banned from Russia? Let us know what you think in the comments below.