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Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU
Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU

Russia banned airlines from the EU and a host of other countries in retaliation to sanctions unfurled by the bloc in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. 

The move announced on Monday in Moscow formally puts a wide swath of Russia — a key route for travel between Europe and Asia — off-limits for major carriers such as Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa. Those airlines and others, including Finnair and British Airways owner IAG, had already begun going around Russia or removing flights to Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo from flight schedules.

The list of 36 destinations includes the UK, which was already forbidden after becoming the first major nation to bar Aeroflot and other Russian airlines. The British dependency of Jersey and overseas territory Anguilla are also included, though not the US.

The move will make it more expensive and time-consuming for Europe’s airlines and air-cargo carriers to make the long transcontinental journeys that have traversed the Siberian route since the 1970s. Finnair, whose main long-haul strategy relies on shuttling European customers from smaller cities through its Helsinki hub, said over the weekend that many flights would no longer make economic sense.

Russia is fighting back against sanctions led by the US and Europe meant to weaken its economy and end the assault on neighbouring Ukraine. 

Picture: BLOOMBERG.
Picture: BLOOMBERG.

It had already banned a number of the individual EU countries, in a series of back-and-forth escalations in the days after it sent troops into Ukraine. Those measures culminated on Sunday with a full ban on Russian flights into EU airspace. 

The EU’s ban is part of a package of measures, from sanctions on commerce and banking to sending aid to Ukraine, meant to punish Putin, pressure those closest to him and persuade him to back down. 

The EU sanctions affect parts, insurance and the supply of “all goods and technology” linked to aircraft in Russia. This means leasing firms will be required to terminate all contracts with Russian airlines on billions of dollars’ worth of jets over the next 30 days. 

Irish leasing firm AerCap, by far the biggest foreign lessor in Russia, said on Monday that it would stop doing business with airlines in the country.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

Bloomberg

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