There is speculation that the rest of Europe will follow and close its airspaces to Russia as well. John Strickland, director of aviation for JLS Consulting, revealed what this could mean for the future of air travel.
Regarding the impact this decision would have globally, John said: “On the face of it, the impact will be that Russian airlines will not be able to fly to Europe.
“Of course the UK already had such a ban in place last week.”
But the impact can be far greater than that, leading to retaliation and, in turn, economic hardship for passengers and airlines.
“The biggest issue is of course the likely retaliation. We have seen that already in the case of the UK, Russia immediately put in place a ban for UK carriers not only to fly into Russia, which is a problem, but to fly in Russian airspace,” he told BBC News.
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John continued: “The more we see countries in Western Europe and the EU in particular putting in place bans, we are likely to see similar retaliation.
“At the moment it’s not just about flying into Russian cities, the biggest issue is that Russian airspace is essential for flights to many parts of Asia from Europe.”
Providing the quickest geographic route, airlines naturally gravitate towards this journey, but recent hostility may throw that off balance.
John predicted it would give airlines a “massive headache” as they would have to re-route their flights.
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Therefore, many more costs would be added to the equation, with more fuel used per trip, as well as stops for said fuel.
As the world prepares to reopen and resume normal travel, what effect will this new threat have?
Airlines and governments have, on the whole, “cautiously hoped” for an increase in travel this summer.
John predicted: “The strange saving grace right now is that due to the ongoing challenge of emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, much of Asia is shut down.”
John also spoke of the difficulties faced by British Airways yesterday, which forced the airline to cancel short-haul flights from Heathrow.
While there was speculation of a cyber attack, BA reported that the issue was a technical fault.
However, with tensions rising, John predicted a “high degree of sensitivity” around the prospect of a cyber attack.
Indeed, many industries are “IT dependent in every aspect”.