By Kalai Raajan
Russian Airline Aeroflot Violates Canadian Airspace
Canada issued a warning after Russian airline Aeroflot violated a restriction on using Canadian airspace on Sunday. The infringement occurred on the same day that Canada and Europe announced they would block their airspace to Russian airlines in retaliation to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, putting pressure on the U.S. to do the same.
“We are aware that Aeroflot Flight 111 violated the prohibition put in place earlier today on Russian flights using Canadian airspace,” Transport Canada said in a tweet late on Sunday. According to FlightRadar24, Aeroflot Flight 111 took off from Miami, Fla. to Moscow at 3:12 p.m. on Sunday. Following the infringement, Transport Canada announced that it will initiate an investigation into the actions of Aeroflot and Canada’s air-traffic control service provider, Nav Canada.
(1/2) We are aware that Aeroflot flight 111 violated the prohibition put in place earlier today on Russian flights using Canadian airspace.
— Transport Canada (@Transport_gc) February 28, 2022
There are no direct flights between Russia and Canada, although numerous Russian flights every day have previously gone through Canadian airspace to other nations, according to a representative for Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
“We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations,” the Canadian regulator said.
Nav Canada confirmed to Reuters that Aeroflot did enter the Canadian airspace. According to the report, the aircraft operator identified the flight a humanitarian flight as it approached domestic airspace, which requires special handling by air traffic control under normal conditions.
Canada and the EU’s Response
“We are currently cooperating with Transport Canada to investigate the occurrence, and are working with neighboring Air Navigation Service Providers to support rerouting of aircraft prior to them entering Canadian-controlled airspace,” Nav Canada said in a statement.
Alghabra announced on Sunday that his country would close its airspace to all Russian flights in order to hold Russia accountable for an unprovoked attack on its neighbor.
“We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” transport minister Alghabra wrote in a Twitter post. “In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft. The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine.”
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Union will close its airspace to planes owned, registered, or controlled by Russians, including “oligarchs’ private airplanes.”
“They won’t be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU,” von der Leyen added.
Impact to Aeroflot
As more airlines canceled flights into and out of Russia, and an increasing number of nations barred Russian airlines from operating, the US embassy in Moscow urged American residents in Russia to consider leaving the country immediately.
Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has terminated its code-sharing agreement with Aeroflot, under which the airlines sold seats on each other’s flights.
“We have removed our code from Aeroflot-operated services beyond Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, and Aeroflot’s code has been removed from Delta-operated services from Los Angeles and New York-JFK. Customers who will be impacted by these adjustments will be accommodated,” Delta stated in a statement on Friday, adding that it does not fly to Ukraine or Russia.
Aeroflot has also been barred from entering British airspace. Poland and the Czech Republic also announced that Russian airlines would be barred from using their airspace, while airlines such as IAG-owned British Airways and Virgin Atlantic began rerouting flights around Russian airspace.
Canada, in conjunction with the U.S. and other nations, has slapped heavy penalties on Russia, specifically targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.