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No Fly Zone: Russia Plans Airspace Blockade For European Flyovers In Sanction Retaliation

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Zero Hedge
Aug 5, 2014

Russia has been quiet, too quiet, since the EU and US unleashed their latest set of sanctions. However, as military drills and troop build-ups occur on Ukraine’s borders, Reuters reports that Russian Prime Minister Medvedev is considering a significant retaliation, “any unfriendly measures by the EU, including those in the area of air transportation, we’ll be studied and won’t remain without a response.” Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying the foreign and transport ministries were discussing possible action which might force EU airlines into long and costly detours and put them at a disadvantage to Asian rivals by restricting or banning European airlines from flying over Siberia on busy Asian routes. Costs? Over $1.3bn for every months for Lufthansa, BA, and Air France…

As Reuters reports,

The Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying the foreign and transport ministries were discussing possible action which might force EU airlines into long and costly detours and put them at a disadvantage to Asian rivals.

Russia may restrict or ban European airlines from flying over Siberia on busy Asian routes, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, following Western sanctions which have grounded one Russian carrier and a billionaire’s private jet.

This would not be the first time…

At the height of the Cold War, most Western airlines were barred from flying through Russian airspace to Asian cities, and instead had to operate via the Gulf or the U.S. airport of Anchorage, Alaska on the polar route.

Costs could be considerable…

Blocking flights by Western airlines over Siberia would add an average an hour and a half to the travel time, Oleg Panteleev, head of the analytical department of the Aviaport agency told Vedomosti. It will result in higher fuel and labor costs, and more strain on technical equipment.

Vedomosti quoted one source as saying a ban could cost carriers including Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) over three months. Restrictions would lead to longer flights, higher fuel use and other additional costs.

Lufthansa said it operates about 180 flights a week through Siberian airspace but declined further comment, as did British Airways.

*  *  *
Though both ministries refused to officially comment, a person close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “any unfriendly measures by the EU, including those in the area of air transportation, we’ll be studied and won’t remain without a response.”

*  *  *
How long before Europe breaks away from Washington? And the land-for-gas deal becomes reality?

This article was posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:01 am





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