Could Russia Create a Bigger Aviation Problem for U.S. Carriers?


Airlines are now starting to wonder if the ongoing war will create even more problems for air travel in the future. The question was one of many addressed at the 79th International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting in Istanbul.


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Prior to the Russo-Ukrainian war, airlines would regularly fly over Russia to connect the United States and Europe to central and southern Asia. Flights flying west from the United States would go over the northeast corner of Russia, while those flying east from Europe would fly over the populated western portion of the nation.


But since the invasion began, western carriers have avoided going over Russia after the country closed their airspace. In turn, airlines are adding hundreds of miles to their routes to stay out of Russian territory, frustrating air carriers.


The problem is that not all carriers have to agree to the regulations. Chinese carriers like Air China and China Eastern are still going to Europe via Russia, which the western carriers says creates an uneven playing field.


“It’s clearly a big impact to us,” United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby told Reuters at the IATA Annual General Meeting, speaking specifically about flights between the U.S. and India. “Now we fly one and it’s an extra two hours…that’s disappointing.”


“We want that airlines which have the right to fly to France or the Netherlands respect the same regulations as us,” Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith told AFP from the meeting. He added that the additional miles cost more in fuel and manpower, while they felt they were getting “squeezed out” of the Russian routes.


The major airlines aren’t the only ones to feel the pressure. Northern Pacific Airways, which planned to launch a low-cost option between the United States and Asia via Alaska, is now changing its plans to start business from the U.S. to Mexico via Las Vegas according to Business Insider.


In the meantime, IATA is staying out of the discussion for now. Instead, they are taking a neutral position on the issue by calling for a peaceful resolution for all situations.


“We would like to have Russian airspace open to everybody,” IATA director general Willie Walsh told AFP. “”We would prefer to see everybody be in a position to be able to compete equally, but that is a political decision that can only be addressed once peace returns.”

Source: frugal travel guy

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