Despite ban, Russian airliners frequently fly through Ukrainian airspace

Russian passenger airliners, flying from southern Europe, occasionally cross the Ukrainian border, despite the ban, Ukrainian TSN news channel reported.

In the last few days of July, Ukrainian airspace has been violated, in particular, by Aeroflot aircraft. Ukrainian air traffic services confirmed that the Russian airliners do fly over Ukraine.

"All of these cases are related to the avoidance of hazardous weather conditions, all allowable by protocol. They are allowed to pass through the airspace of Ukraine to ensure passenger safety," the expert, Oleg Kryzhanovsky, said.

The passenger airliners, flying from southern Europe, cross the Ukrainian border from time to time, despite the prohibitions in place. Journalists have uncovered how and why this occurs from Ukrainian air traffic controllers. Prior to entering Ukrainian air space, pilots have to request permission, generally stating it is due to adverse weather conditions. Although Ukrainian air traffic controllers may not see the weather issue on radar, they cannot refuse as the passengers’ safety is first and foremost. It is very difficult to establish whether they are only trying to save fuel.

"Any pilot can give misleading information. The question is whether or not we can expose this deceit. If we think that they are being sneaky and refuse, then we have no justification should something happen," Kryzhanovsky explains.

The representatives of the Ukrainian airlines are surprised by such flight of Russian aircraft over the territory of Ukraine. They [the Ukrainian airlines] lose money, time and resources flying around Russia. On average, a flight to Asia and to the Caucasus is an hour longer, but they do not try to fly through Russian airspace to shorten the journey.

"We have several times been in this situation in Kazakhstan. We had to return to Odessa as an alternative to refuel because there was a strong headwind. It used to be a three-and-a-half hour flight from Kyiv to Astana, but now it is six hours. And it turns out, when these situations exist and we have to refuel it is very expensive,” the President of Ukraine International Airlines, Yuri Miroshnikov, says.

Russian airlines also spend an extra hour on the flight to Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus and Italy. Recently, the Russian Minister of Transport has already hinted that he wants to abandon the sanctions, because they do a lot of damage. If Moscow has officially asked to look into this issue, Kyiv will look into it as well. 

  Ukraine, Russia, Sanctions