President Biden is announcing tonight during the State of the Union address that the U.S. is closing its airspace to Russian aircraft.
This isn’t nearly as significant to Russia as the closure of European airspace, though it does mean that Russian carriers won’t be flying to the U.S. which was already made more difficult by the closure of Canadian airspace.
Avoiding Russian airspace, though not (yet) legally required, is already creating challenges for U.S. airlines. American’s New York JFK – Delhi flight frequently diverts because it never received Russia overfly rights. United has had to cancel San Francisco – Delhi:
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) March 1, 2022
On the whole the number of Russian flights affected by the U.S. decision – that weren’t already hindered by other airspace closures – will be limited. But some flights are going to be severely inconvenienced. Aeroflot’s Moscow – Cancun flight, for instance, regularly flies up and down the East Coast of the U.S.
Russian low cost carrier Nordwind flew Moscow – Cancun today and avoided both Europe and the U.S. and FlightRadar24.com shows just how
insane creative the routing becomes.
They make the flight using a Boeing 777-200ER. It’s not clear how long they and other Russian airlines will be able to maintain their fleets.
The Russian commercial airline fleet is well and truly stuck without support from Airbus and Boeing. Even the Sukhoi Superjet parts distribution logistics operation is run through Lufthansa Technik, now offline with EU sanctions. https://t.co/dJhEWTDohw https://t.co/nrc17aQCIb
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 2, 2022
The airspace closures are inconvenient. Qatar Airways learned to deal with the closure of its surrounding airspace for an extended period. The lack of aircraft parts, though, is going to be challenging. I begin to worry for safety, as well, once parts begin getting sourced on the black and grey markets.