Russia Blocking Flights That Avoid Belarus’ Airspace?

Russia Blocking Flights That Avoid Belarus’ Airspace?

43

We’ll have to mark this as “developing” for now, but it looks like there may be an aviation Cold War brewing

Many countries are imposing sanctions against Belarus, following the country essentially hijacking a Ryanair 737 that was flying between Athens and Vilnius. At this point Belavia has been banned from using European Union airspace, and airlines are also being warned not to use Belarusian airspace.

We knew that Russia was on Belarus’ side, though a big question has been what that would mean in practice, especially as it impacts aviation. Well, we may have our answer, and it’s potentially pretty petty — Russia may be blocking some inbound flights that choose to avoid Belarusian airspace.

This was first noticed when Air France’s Paris to Moscow flight was canceled yesterday. As it was explained, this was “for operational reasons linked to the bypassing of Belarusian airspace, requiring a new authorization from the Russian authorities to enter their territory.” Air France’s flight on the route today was canceled as well, and tomorrow’s flight has already proactively been canceled.

This wasn’t a one-off (or three-off, I suppose) thing either. The same thing happened to Austrian Airlines today, on its flight from Vienna to Moscow.

When airlines change their routes they have to file new flight plans, and Russia is simply choosing not to approve these as it usually would. That’s seemingly for no other reason than to be petty, because there’s no other logical justification.

Now, it’s worth clarifying that flights to other Russian destinations seem to be operating as usual, some flights to Moscow are operating normally, and we have limited data points so far, and therefore we can’t say anything definitively.

But if this is as it appears, I don’t think it would really surprise anyone. Things are escalating, and if that continues, this could potentially have massive global implications for aviation.

Right now Russia just seems to be petty with flights to Moscow, but could the country eventually introduce (what it would view as) a reciprocal flight ban, block off its airspace to any airline registered in a country that blocks its airspace to Belarus? This could come in the form of simply not approving flight plans, rather than a blanket ban.

Russia is a massive country and has some of the most “essential” airspace for airlines operating in all kinds of long haul markets, and any restrictions surrounding that could be major. I’m not saying that’ll happen, but it also can’t be ruled out.

Bottom line

Russia seems to be blocking some flights that are choosing to avoid Belarusian airspace, in the form of not approving modified flight plans. For now just a limited number of flights have been impacted, though if this escalates, it could have major implications for global aviation.

Russia is clearly siding with Belarus, so this is one way for Russia to stir the pot. While we aren’t there yet, I don’t think we can rule out Russia imposing widespread airspace restrictions.

What do you make of Russia blocking flights that avoid Belarusian airspace?

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  1. Michael

    Close all airspace outside of Russia to all their aircraft. Isolate Russia and Belarus completely.

  2. Simon

    https://apnews.com/article/germany-russia-europe-airlines-business-4647a2173775262d17e0dc2fca15b064
    "Germany has denied Russian airlines permission to use its airspace after Moscow failed to approve a Lufthansa flight to Russia, German officials said Wednesday."

  3. MUGBEES

    People here who have been saying Russia is good is clearly turning a blind eye to all horrendous things that the country has been doing within the country and all around the world. Or they might just be paid comments by Russian authorities.

    I once transited through a Moscow airport. None of the airport employees treated me well. They unpacked my carry-on bag thoroughly even though I was just at the airport passing through for...

    People here who have been saying Russia is good is clearly turning a blind eye to all horrendous things that the country has been doing within the country and all around the world. Or they might just be paid comments by Russian authorities.

    I once transited through a Moscow airport. None of the airport employees treated me well. They unpacked my carry-on bag thoroughly even though I was just at the airport passing through for less than two hours on my way back home to U.S. The woman at immigration check stared at me - not believing that I am a US citizen, holding me and my passport hostage for more than 40 minutes - clearly because I am not white.

    Not only Russia is a thug country, it is a racist one as well.

  4. Pierre

    Today’s flight AF1154 (Saturday) operated on schedule and went around Belarus according to flightware.com

  5. Kent

    @Ben @Lucky Meanwhile in America...oh how I love America...the people on the other hand....

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-57290987

  6. Emily

    As an American who lived in Russia for multiple years, I strongly align with @Jesse. That comment is spot on!

  7. Alex

    Damn I can’t wait until the ability to reserve names is added. VERY annoying to constantly read troll comments using my name.

    Apart from that, the situation does appear to be settling down…after a few days of blocking AF and Austrian, plus apparently even denying Aeroflot’s flight plan when it tried to fly to Lithuania without crossing over Belarus (!!! Imagine that! They denied their own flag carrier’s flight plan!!) they’re now allowing Austrian once...

    Damn I can’t wait until the ability to reserve names is added. VERY annoying to constantly read troll comments using my name.

    Apart from that, the situation does appear to be settling down…after a few days of blocking AF and Austrian, plus apparently even denying Aeroflot’s flight plan when it tried to fly to Lithuania without crossing over Belarus (!!! Imagine that! They denied their own flag carrier’s flight plan!!) they’re now allowing Austrian once again, and according to Forbes, Russian carriers have started flying around Belarus…

  8. Aaron

    @upstater

    Yup, that case of Whataboutism of yours is still raging hard lol

  9. Stuart

    I used to find "comments" here - and elsewhere - interesting or helpful. Now they're just annoying or stupid, which is kind of sad. Exhibit A above. It's not worth the aggravation to bother reading "comments" anymore.

  10. maxi4492

    I think I'll side with Max on this one, they are chosing not to review the new flight plans and keep everyone on suspense for some time.

    Is it petty, yes, is it a calculated risk, definitely. I think Russians are just keep the mustache potato head to keep western influence out of Belarus. Other then that i doubt they will go the extra mile to keep "blocking" foreign airlines for too long.

    I just...

    I think I'll side with Max on this one, they are chosing not to review the new flight plans and keep everyone on suspense for some time.

    Is it petty, yes, is it a calculated risk, definitely. I think Russians are just keep the mustache potato head to keep western influence out of Belarus. Other then that i doubt they will go the extra mile to keep "blocking" foreign airlines for too long.

    I just hope they don't achieve anything with this. Because if Belarus is allowed to walk away with this with a slap on a wrist we can expect this to become a regular thing all over the world.

  11. Jesse

    This comment section is pure gold. As an American who lives in Russia, it's pretty funny to see a lot of the Russophobia spouted by people who have never set foot in Russia and believe all of the rubbish reported in Western media outlets about the country. Let's be honest, all media is biased and you shouldn't take anything you see, hear or read as 100% accurate. I sure as hell don't buy the propaganda...

    This comment section is pure gold. As an American who lives in Russia, it's pretty funny to see a lot of the Russophobia spouted by people who have never set foot in Russia and believe all of the rubbish reported in Western media outlets about the country. Let's be honest, all media is biased and you shouldn't take anything you see, hear or read as 100% accurate. I sure as hell don't buy the propaganda from Russian or American news outlets, as I am smart enough to understand that it is slanted. Another issue is that people, especially my fellow Americans, have a bad habit of thinking that every country should conform to their worldview. Different peoples have different mentalities.

  12. Icarus

    @max the flights were to Russia anyhow so the change of flight plan means overflying other countries eg Poland Lithuania Latvia rather than Belarus. Those are EU countries. The Russian authorities have simply prohibited those flights due to the EU Belarus embargo. We have to consider this incident involving an EU flight, and it was piracy by the Belarus authorities. A country in Europe which is stuck in the 19th century , considers LGBTQ a...

    @max the flights were to Russia anyhow so the change of flight plan means overflying other countries eg Poland Lithuania Latvia rather than Belarus. Those are EU countries. The Russian authorities have simply prohibited those flights due to the EU Belarus embargo. We have to consider this incident involving an EU flight, and it was piracy by the Belarus authorities. A country in Europe which is stuck in the 19th century , considers LGBTQ a psychiatric disorder, imprisons people for disagreeing with the current “ president” who have been in power 27 years.

  13. Jack

    It's not uncommon that two oligarch thugs support each other. It's amazing that we haven't addressed it yet.
    Sanctions are a start, but the civilized would needs to just stop doing business with them. Let them die on their own poisoned vine.
    Too often we find exceptions for continuing business with them. Just stop. No pipelines, no potash, no exports at all, and no imports. We don't need their products, and they need...

    It's not uncommon that two oligarch thugs support each other. It's amazing that we haven't addressed it yet.
    Sanctions are a start, but the civilized would needs to just stop doing business with them. Let them die on their own poisoned vine.
    Too often we find exceptions for continuing business with them. Just stop. No pipelines, no potash, no exports at all, and no imports. We don't need their products, and they need ours.
    If we have integrity, albeit it may hurt us, we can make them change. The reporter who was captured tried, and will probably suffer death Can't we suffer an increase in gas price of a few pennies? Suck it up, EU.
    And as far Russia not approving flight plans? Cancel the flights, since we don't want to do business with them anyway. Let them try to walk home. There are just as many Russian "officials" on those flights as there are tourists.

  14. neil

    I would like to repeat a comment I made another Belarus thread:

    memo to Max (and other trolls):

    You might want to try being a lot more subtle in your posts. Of course if your intent is to make us laugh a lot, then continue what you are doing right now; it’s definitely working

  15. Endre

    BBC - 1AM London time

    Russia has denied entry to two European airlines because they planned to avoid flying over Belarus to get to Moscow.
    Air France and Austrian Airlines have both had to cancel services after their flight plans were rejected by Russia.

  16. Tony

    FT is reporting that new flight plans via Moscow by BA and KLM were approved by Russia.

  17. upstater

    @arron, hypocrisy and propaganda are different than "whataboutism". cf Paul Robinson's blog which addresses this issue directly. Facts hurt sometimes. Especially if you're on the receiving end. How people forget the lying about the "missile gap", Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, etc.

  18. ha

    Upstater is extremely stupid lying piece of ass. Bomb threat cited by Belarus was sent after plane was diverted - Swiss email provider.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/email-bomb-threat-sent-after-bloggers-plane-was-diverted-over-belarus-swiss-2021-05-27/

    Funny, how these Russian trolls are so incredibly dumb, that they sincerely believe their own propaganda.
    Lucky, any chance you could block those fake-news morons?

  19. Infik

    Well the EU blocked Belarus airlines from using their airspace, why can't Russia do the same?

  20. Adam

    @upstater stop talking nonsense. Belarus claims it was a threat from Hamas who have denied it, and conveniently arrests dissidents who just happened to be on the plane. Ridiculous.

    @max talking about plandemics... you're so open minded that your brain has fallen out.

  21. MUGBEES

    Stop all flights to and from Russia as long as the thug dan killer Putin is in power.

  22. Aaron

    So who has the bigger case of Whataboutism: Max, Jerry, upstater, or Ole?

  23. upstater

    @Alex, Evan... do a bit of digging and find the selfies by Roman Protasevich wearing a t shirt with swastikas. Is that cool, or what? (Lucky note; what does Germany do with public displays of swastikas? ). He was in the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade. They make the Proud Boys look like Cub Scouts.

    The source of the email sent to Minsk airport will be identified. Belarus has invited the EU and US to review the...

    @Alex, Evan... do a bit of digging and find the selfies by Roman Protasevich wearing a t shirt with swastikas. Is that cool, or what? (Lucky note; what does Germany do with public displays of swastikas? ). He was in the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade. They make the Proud Boys look like Cub Scouts.

    The source of the email sent to Minsk airport will be identified. Belarus has invited the EU and US to review the incident. The threat stated the plane would explode over Vilnius, implying a GPS type of bomb. What should be done in that situation, experts?

    Note that Ryanair in July 2020 had TWO phoney bomb threats, one in the UK, the other in Denmark. In both cases fighters were scrambled and escorted the planes to diverted airports. Perhaps the problem is Ryanair?

  24. Max

    The handlers in the background just don't like Lukashenko because he is the only real leader with a backbone who has not participated in the Scamdemic/Plandemic/Great Reset. He was the only one in all of Europe who has completely withstood any lockdown measures dictated by Klaus Schwab's WEF, the WHO and the IMF.

  25. Ole

    This is nothing new. West has been bullying the world in the name of democracy and national security for decades while real intentions have always been financial. Case in point the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. The same approach was applied throughout middle east to secure oil.

    That being said, two wrongs don’t make a right. It was wrong what west did and so is what Belarus and Russia are doing. All governments treat humans as...

    This is nothing new. West has been bullying the world in the name of democracy and national security for decades while real intentions have always been financial. Case in point the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. The same approach was applied throughout middle east to secure oil.

    That being said, two wrongs don’t make a right. It was wrong what west did and so is what Belarus and Russia are doing. All governments treat humans as pawns to varying degree. God must be cursing himself/herself for creating mankind

  26. Alex J

    @upstater
    Those are completely different scenarios in like 20 different ways. Before calling something hypocritical make sure to do some research. Of course, you're just a Russian troll so research is asking a lot.

  27. Evan

    @upstater:

    I don't believe the US faked a bomb threat and provided a military "escort." Not saying that what the US did was acceptable, but don't put it in the same bucket.

  28. snic

    It's the Max and Jerry Show!

    It must be irritating that every single person reading your posts finds them completely ridiculous. Just about as ridiculous as Belarus' claim that a bomb threat came from Hamas. What a surprise, a laughingstock pissant dictator has an army of laughingstock trolls under his bridges.

  29. Hugh Jass

    Note all the Russian disinformation posted above by their trolls. These fascists are everywhere. Expect lots more.

    New poll says 1/3 of US citizens say they believe in Q-anon lunacy.

  30. Jerry

    When USA does something (punish journalists who expose secrets, silence political opposition, arrest people for questioning elections) it is “to protect democracy” but when another country does the exact same things its an “attack on democracy”. Not saying any of the actions are right or wrong, but hypocrisy should be pointed out and people should be able to recognize goverment propaganda. And yes, the US has LOTS of propaganda, only the people who believe it...

    When USA does something (punish journalists who expose secrets, silence political opposition, arrest people for questioning elections) it is “to protect democracy” but when another country does the exact same things its an “attack on democracy”. Not saying any of the actions are right or wrong, but hypocrisy should be pointed out and people should be able to recognize goverment propaganda. And yes, the US has LOTS of propaganda, only the people who believe it call it journalism.

  31. CSR

    With no direct flights between the EU or Ukraine and Russia/Belarus, traffic will need to connect elsewhere. Looks like the winner is Air Moldova

  32. upstater

    It is called "hijacking" when Belarus did this. But when the US and EU forced diversion of the Bolivian president's plane it was OK. When Ukraine did this in 2016 to a Belavia flight, it wasn't even reported in western media.

    POT > KETTLE > BLACK. The hypocrisy of this incident is astounding. When the western powers set a precedent, why should there be any surprise when it it used?

    I personally think it...

    It is called "hijacking" when Belarus did this. But when the US and EU forced diversion of the Bolivian president's plane it was OK. When Ukraine did this in 2016 to a Belavia flight, it wasn't even reported in western media.

    POT > KETTLE > BLACK. The hypocrisy of this incident is astounding. When the western powers set a precedent, why should there be any surprise when it it used?

    I personally think it is a very good idea to "get along" with nuclear armed nations... the beneficiaries of a new cold war are the merchants of death that have brought us 20 years of forever wars.

  33. Joseph N.

    @Rich, Ya know, we've gotten used to the PRC paying trolls to show up and complain (with comical English skills) anytime anyone writes anything objective about mainland China.

    However, Max is the first time I've seen the Kremlin bother to pay trolls to go around the internet and defend mother Russia. Maybe the Kremlin is surprised that the EU is showing so much backbone.

    IMHO, if this comes down to surviving by blocking each...

    @Rich, Ya know, we've gotten used to the PRC paying trolls to show up and complain (with comical English skills) anytime anyone writes anything objective about mainland China.

    However, Max is the first time I've seen the Kremlin bother to pay trolls to go around the internet and defend mother Russia. Maybe the Kremlin is surprised that the EU is showing so much backbone.

    IMHO, if this comes down to surviving by blocking each other's airlines, this is not a fight Russia is going to win.

  34. Hugh Jass

    The fascists that rule over Russia and their boot-lickers here are plain to see. Their minions and bots will be chiming in here right away to show their love for Dear Leaders Putin, Lukashenko and The Orange One. They are all around you. Ignore them at your peril.

  35. Max

    @rich
    It's not bullshit. Go have a look at KLM and Lufthansa who don't have these problems because they know how to a) file a flight plan on time and b) have regular traffic to Russia and not only special exemptional flights under covid rules.

  36. rich

    Apparently Max is a Russian troll. Keep spreading that BS you think people will believe. lol.

  37. Michael

    "Cutting off your nose to spite your face" -- Russia

  38. Bobby J

    Maybe this is a good time to get rid of the Aeroflot deadweight in Skyteam :P

  39. CRAIG

    Let Russia close Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo to international traffic to the West. That will do more harm to the Russian/Belarusian economy than anything the EU/West can do at this point. When the Ruble falls the West will be able to buy more natural gas contracts for less.

  40. endre

    @MAX you're killing the suspense

  41. Gold

    Comrade Max over here lol.

    rUsSiA iSnT bLoCkInG aNyThInG, they just aren’t reviewing or changing anything.

  42. Max

    Wrong, Russia is not blocking flights that avoid Belarussian airspace per se.

    But Airlines like Air France and Austrian had previously filed flight plans through Belarus that have been approved. If they want to change these flight plans to avoid Belarus, they will have to wait till the new plan gets approved by authorities.
    And of course Russia is not gonna thoroughly checking the newly filed plans before approving them.

    Additionally, because of the...

    Wrong, Russia is not blocking flights that avoid Belarussian airspace per se.

    But Airlines like Air France and Austrian had previously filed flight plans through Belarus that have been approved. If they want to change these flight plans to avoid Belarus, they will have to wait till the new plan gets approved by authorities.
    And of course Russia is not gonna thoroughly checking the newly filed plans before approving them.

    Additionally, because of the covid situation, regular air travel between Russian and most countries (e.g. France) is suspended. Flights are operated on a special set of rules to accommodate cargo and repatriating citizens.
    Other countries that have resumed regular air traffic with Russia (e.g. Germany with Lufthansa) don't have these problems.

  43. XenaWP

    What a pathetic band of losers ruling Belarus and Russia

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Michael

Close all airspace outside of Russia to all their aircraft. Isolate Russia and Belarus completely.

Simon

https://apnews.com/article/germany-russia-europe-airlines-business-4647a2173775262d17e0dc2fca15b064 "Germany has denied Russian airlines permission to use its airspace after Moscow failed to approve a Lufthansa flight to Russia, German officials said Wednesday."

MUGBEES

People here who have been saying Russia is good is clearly turning a blind eye to all horrendous things that the country has been doing within the country and all around the world. Or they might just be paid comments by Russian authorities. I once transited through a Moscow airport. None of the airport employees treated me well. They unpacked my carry-on bag thoroughly even though I was just at the airport passing through for less than two hours on my way back home to U.S. The woman at immigration check stared at me - not believing that I am a US citizen, holding me and my passport hostage for more than 40 minutes - clearly because I am not white. Not only Russia is a thug country, it is a racist one as well.

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