The United States is going after the European Union and Canada to ban Russian airlines from their airspace, Alaska Airlines having terminated its agreements with S7 Airlines and Aeroflot. For their part, Boeing announces the suspension of its operations in Moscow, TUI Group explains the presence of a Russian oligarch in its shareholding, and Wizz Air offers free tickets to Ukrainian refugees.
The invasion of Ukraine had its first consequences for commercial air transport in the USA on March 1, 2022: President Joe Biden announced during his Union speech the closure of airspace to Russian airlines. “We will join our allies in closing US airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and further straining its economy,” he said. Only Aeroflot serves the country, with flights to New York-JFK, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles airports. The EU and Canada had implemented this closure of their respective airspaces to Russian carriers on Sunday, with Moscow responding with a ban on its skies to 36 countries.
The possible Russian reaction to the American decision was anticipated yesterday by United Airlines, whose flight UA802 between Delhi and Newark avoided overflights of Kazakhstan, Russia and Scandinavia in favor of a route passing much further south. by Azerbaijan and Western Europe. It has suspended this route as well as the UA830 flights between Mumbai and its New York base, the time to study their future flight plans. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines but also UPS had already announced that their planes avoid Russian airspace.
Alaska Airlines has announced the termination of its partnerships with Russian companies. “We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”, explains its press release; as a result, “we are temporarily suspending our partnership” with S7 Airlines, also a member of Oneworld. Since Tuesday, customers of the American company “will no longer be able to earn miles on S7. Our ongoing work to enable the use of miles on S7 will also stop.” It also suspended its “limited” interline relationships with S7 and Aeroflot, agreements which allow “passengers of one airline to obtain a ticket on a competing airline for various problems, such as bad weather”. No Russian carriers share their codes with US carriers.
On the industrial side, while Airbus announced last Thursday that it wanted to comply “with all sanctions and all applicable laws as soon as they come into force” following the announcement by the European Council to ban the export to Russia of aircraft, parts and equipment from the aeronautics and space industry, Boeing finally reacted yesterday: a short press release yesterday announced “the suspension of parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines”. The company will also suspend “major operations” at its Moscow offices, where “a significant amount of fleet support and design work is carried out”. “As the conflict continues, our teams are focused on the safety of our teammates in the region,” said Boeing, whose Kyiv offices are also “temporarily” closed.