Carriers seek alternative routes to avoid flying over conflict zone
More airlines have suspended flights to Ukraine as a Russian invasion continues with strikes and explosions reported in several parts of the country.
According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Ukraine’s skies and airspace in Russia and Belarus within 100 nautical miles of borders with Ukraine could pose risks. In a statement, the agency said: “In particular, there is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft. The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a high risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.”
An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto made a U-turn out of Ukraine’s airspace due to safety concerns and several airlines have suspended flights.
Hungary-based Wizz Air said in a statement: “Due to the current events in Ukraine and the airspace closure, Wizz Air regrets to inform our customers that the airline must temporarily suspend all flight operations in the country. The safety and security of our passengers and crew remains our number-one priority and we hope normality will return to Ukraine soon.”
Elsewhere, countries including Britain, Canada, France, Italy and the US have advised their airlines to avoid airspace above eastern Ukraine and Crimea. In addition, Lufthansa has halted flights to Ukraine, joining KLM which had already suspended flights.