The growing list of sanctions against both the Russian Federation and airlines operating there include cancelled interline agreements, closed airspace and reduced support to keep aircraft running.
U.S., European Union Closes Airspace, Businesses Cancel Agreements
According to CNN, the member nations of the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada all closed their airspace to all “Russian-owned, Russian-registered, or Russian-controlled” aircraft. This includes both commercial aircraft operated by carriers Aeroflot and S7 Airlines, along with all private civil aircraft.
The United States joined many of their NATO allies in closing airspace on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, when President Joe Biden announced the measure as a continued response to Russia in his State of the Union address. A bulletin later released by the Federal Aviation Administration announced the prohibition will begin on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) March 2, 2022
Even though the airspace will be closed, several airlines already took the extraordinary step of cutting ties with the two major airlines based in Russia. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines all announced they would suspend their codeshare and interline agreements with both Aeroflot and S7. Both Alaska and American had alliance partnerships with S7 via the Oneworld alliance, while Delta is a partner with Aeroflot through SkyTeam. Neither alliance has commented on the future of the Russian carriers in their organizations.
To complicate things further, both major commercial aircraft companies are suspending services to the Russian airlines. The Guardian reports both Airbus and Boeing have suspended support to the carriers, including providing parts, aircraft support and training. Boeing operates a training campus in Moscow, but the Chicago-based aerospace company told Reuters they have paused operations there.
Aviation Embargo Could Collapse Russian Aviation Industry
Without access to airports or support from other airlines and major aerospace companies, the makeshift embargo of Russian carriers could create major problems for the nation’s industry. An editorial in Aviation International News notes the sanctions could not only make aircraft unsafe, but also prevent air carriers from access to insurance and potentially cancelled aircraft leases – resulting in a meltdown for the Russian carriers.
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