According to Reuters, “Russia may restrict or ban European airlines from flying over Siberia on busy Asian routes, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, following Western sanctions which have grounded one Russian carrier (Dobrolet) and a billionaire’s private jet.
The Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying the foreign and transport ministries were discussing possible action which might force EU airlines into long and costly detours and put them at a disadvantage to Asian rivals.”
Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) receives around $300 million in revenue every year due to overflight fees by European Union carriers.
If this happens, will there be further retaliation against Aeroflot and other Russian carriers? Can Russia afford the loss of revenue?
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Read the analysis from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Can Aeroflot afford this loss of revenue and possible further restrictions in Europe? Boeing 777-3M0 ER VP-BGF (msn 41686) arrives in New York (JFK).
Bottom Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. If Siberian overflights are banned by Russia, one of the potentially most impacted European carriers could be Finnair which has expanded its route network to Asia through its modern and efficient Helsinki hub. For Finnair, avoiding Russian airspace could be a major and expensive challenge.
Interestingly, if Finnair ends up having to avoid Russian airspace, it wouldn’t be the first time. From http://www.finnairgroup.com/group/group_14_6.html
“On 22 April 1983, Finnair began non-stop flights from Helsinki to Tokyo using a DC-10-30 aircraft, the N345HC (OH-LHC), which was equipped with extra fuel tanks.”
They were forced to fly north of Siberia and south to Tokyo adding several hours of flight time at greater expense. The reason they were denied overflight rights by Russia were not political, but commercial to put Finnair at a competitive disadvantage, or so I was told by my Finnair colleagues when I joined the carrier in 1987 at the company’s Boston sales office.
They/we were finally allowed to overfly Siberia in the early 90’s if my memory serves me correctly.
Further to my previous comment from the Finnair website:
“Finnair gained the right to fly direct to Tokyo over Siberia. The first flight was on 31 May 1991. The flight route adjustment cut the flying time by around three hours.”