Airspace bans show just how fragile our international travel freedoms really are

Our long-held travel freedoms were hard won; we need them back soon, writes Helen Coffey

<p>Aeroflot was banned from the skies of many countries this week </p>

Aeroflot was banned from the skies of many countries this week

I’ve always found the concept of airspace bizarre. How, after all, can a country “own” the sky? How can you stake a claim to territory that has no discernible boundaries or borders – that is, essentially, thin air?

Most of the time, we rarely consider it as an asset that can be controlled – we’ve enjoyed freedom of movement at altitude for so long, under open skies agreements first established under the Chicago Convention – that we in the west take the assumption that we can largely fly where we like for granted.

But Russia’s heinous attack on Ukraine and subsequent sanctions from countries around the world have been a sharp reminder that these convivial arrangements are much more fragile than we’d like to think.

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