It was 6 hours ago that EASA has declared that Ukraine is now an active conflict zone presenting a risk for civil aviation. The Ukrainian airspace has closed to civil aviation overnight as the Russian forces move into the country. And the action follows months of rising tensions, which may have already seen many airlines altering flight schedules to avoid night stops in the country or even cancelling flights to the nation altogether.
Meanwhile, one would hope that civil aviation would be immune to conflicts taking place on the ground. It has been sadly proven that this is not the case; Ukraine has closed its airspace, and the European regulator EASA has warned against flying to the region.
EASA Issues A Conflict Zone Information Bulletin
On both sides of the airspace closure by Ukraine, the European regulator EASA issued a conflict zone information bulletin CZIB regarding Ukrainian airspace and some surrounding areas. Into the Burgin to Ukraine, the bulletin covers an area stretching 100 nautical miles from the border of Ukraine in Russia and Belarus.
Within the Ukrainian airspace closing and the area designated as an active conflict zone, the carriers have understandably cancelled flights to and from the region. And both Ryanair and airBaltic had said it had a duty to fly passengers to and from the region, supposing that it was safe to do so, for the moment, airBaltic had laid on extra flights to bring additional people out of the country. And that both airlines are among those to cancel flights.
No Overnight Stops Paid Off
It was only a couple of days ago that airBaltic revealed that it would readjust its flight timing to avoid aircraft being left on the ground in Ukraine overnight. The strategy paid off for the Latvian carrier, as the airspace closure took place last night. airBaltic Airbus A220 has been on the ground in Ukraine overnight, it could now be stuck there. Apart from the fact that there is a risk that the aircraft could be damaged if conflict spills into the airport, it also means that the airline would be one aircraft for other operations. Alternatively, call the airline’s aircraft that are out of harm and ready to return to Kyiv once the situation stabilizes.
From the Ukrainian border with Russia, as far as where some conflict was ongoing. A Buk surface-to-air missile was transported from Russia to a rebel-held region of Ukraine and then fired at the light. Killing all 298 people onboard and downing the jet and making the incident the deadliest shoot down of a commercial jet in history.