Japanese carriers that used Russia’s airspace for their European flights, cited safety concerns amid Russia’s full-scale aggression in Ukraine, as the reason for their decision to halt Europe services.
According to Japan Airlines spokesperson, JAL was “continuously monitoring the situation,” and, in light of the “present situation in Ukraine and the different risks, we have decided to cancel flights.”
ANA Cargo’s website cited the “high possibility of its operations not being able to overfly Russia due to the current Ukraine situation.”
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, JAL and ANA reportedly operated 60 per week, on average, with London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Helsinki among the main destinations.
Last week, JAL also canceled its weekly flight between Tokyo and Moscow, “in light of the current situation in Russia and Ukraine.”
According to industry sources, Taiwanese carriers have also stopped flying over Russian territory.
Since February 24, when Russia attacked Ukraine, more than 35 countries, including the US, Canada, and all those in the EU, have banned Russian planes from entering their respective airspace. Russia has retaliated by closing the usual routes from Europe to Asia to Western airlines.
In addition to the massive disruptions to air travel on both sides, Russia has been slapped with a raft of crippling sanctions over the past week, which, among other things, target the country’s central bank’s assets, several major commercial banks, and the country’s leadership directly, for waging an aggressive and unprovoked war against a sovereign nation.
Japan has not yet closed its airspace to Russian jets, nor has Moscow imposed any such curbs, so technically Japanese carriers can still fly over Russia.