UK bans Russian aircraft from its airspace

All UK flights on Russian carrier Aeroflot cancelled

<p>An Aeroflot Airlines Boeing 737 (Steve Parsons/PA)</p>

An Aeroflot Airlines Boeing 737 (Steve Parsons/PA)

The UK has banned all Russian aircraft from its airspace.

As of 12.01am on 25 February, any aircraft on a scheduled service “which is owned, chartered or operated by a person connected with Russia, or which is registered in Russia” is prohibited from entering UK airspace, including over the UK’s territorial sea.

The ban, announced by Boris Johnson, includes Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, which usually flies a daily commercial service from Russia to London.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed it has suspended Aeroflot's foreign carrier permit indefinitely.

“This means that Aeroflot will not be permitted to operate flights to the United Kingdom until further notice,” said the CAA.

The British transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “I've signed restrictions prohibiting all scheduled Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or touching down on British soil. Putin's heinous actions will not be ignored, and we will never tolerate those who put people’s lives in danger.”

Meanwhile, some British airlines are avoiding Russian airspace.

British Airways’ parent company IAG – which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling – has said it will reroute flights so that they don’t enter Russian airspace following the Prime Minister’s directive.

It has also cancelled today’s BA flight from London Heathrow to Moscow.

“Following the UK government decision to ban Aeroflot from landing in the UK, we have taken the decision not use Russian airspace for overflights,” IAG CEO Luis Gallego said. “We are avoiding Russian airspace for the time being.”

“The impact for us is not huge because right now we are only flying to a small number of destinations in Asia and we can reroute our flights.”

Flight tracking websites show a stark picture since the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensified, with airlines worldwide giving Ukrainian airspace a wide berth.

Ukraine’s State Air Traffic Services Enterprise announced the closure of its airspace to civil aircraft shortly before 1am GMT on 24 February. A statement read: “The provision of air traffic services to civilian users of the airspace of Ukraine is suspended.”

The Foreign Office (FCDO) warned that commercial air routes could be “severely disrupted” by the closure.

“Ukraine’s airspace is closed. It is likely that commercial routes out of Ukraine will be severely disrupted and roads across Ukraine could be closed,” the department tweeted from @FCDOtraveladvice.

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