Korean Airlines will cease flying in Russian airspace until the end of April, citing safety concerns.
Flights cancelled until late April
Yesterday, Korea’s national airline announced that they would be rerouting flights to Europe and North America that crossed through Russian airspace. Unlike the vast majority of European countries, Korea is not prohibited from flying over Russia’s skies. The airline said the decision was based on operational challenges and safety concerns. The operational challenges may be referring to an incident earlier this month when Korean Air were informed that they could no longer refuel their aircraft in Moscow.
Korean Air has also cancelled all passenger and cargo services flying to Moscow and Vladivostok until the end of April. This includes flights that use Moscow as a stopover.
South Korean low-cost carrier Air Busan said that it would be suspending six passenger flights with Vladivostok until April 15, also citing operational challenges and safety issues.
Where will the flights be diverted?
Korean Air will have to reroute current flights to avoid Russian airspace, which will increase the duration of the journeys.
Routes to Europe will be diverted via other countries such as China, Kazakhstan and Turkey. The airline has said that this could add up to 2 hours and 45 minutes to flight times.
North American routes such as New York-Seoul will now fly via Alaska and the pacific ocean, adding up to 1 hour and 40 minutes to the flight time.
The Korean flag-carrier is not the only airline that’s had issues with flight diversions. Europe-Asia routes have been the hardest hit by the recent Russian Airspace closures. Japanese Airlines and ANA had to suspend European flights earlier this month, and Finnair had to cancel its flights to Seoul.
What are your thoughts on Korean Air cancelling their Russian flights? Let us know in the comments below!