After its incursion into Ukraine in the spring of 2022, Russia faced swift sanctions from numerous countries, resulting in the closure of Russian airspace for most international airlines. Looking at flightradar24 it is easy to see that Russian airspace is still very active with several airlines still operating flights across this airspace. Which Airlines Still Fly into Russian Airspace, and what factors drive them to maintain their flight routes over Russia?
In September 2023, four European airlines continue to utilize Russian airspace and offer flights to Russian destinations. These carriers and their country of origin are Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines (Turkey), Air Serbia(Serbia), and Belavia (Belarus). This can be attributed considerably to the strong diplomatic these countries have with Russia. Turkish Airlines stands out as the airline with the broadest coverage, serving a total of seven Russian destinations. Meanwhile, Air Serbia maintains its operations to four Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Sochi.
Unlike North America and Europe, most Asian countries have not implemented sanctions, meaning that the only airlines currently avoiding Russian airspace are those choosing to do so voluntarily.
China stands out as the leading country with the highest number of airlines traversing Russian airspace. Notable Chinese carriers, such as Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Air primarily utilize this airspace for reaching destinations in Western Europe though they do also fly to destinations within Russia.
EL AL, Emirates, and Etihad, continue to operate flights through Russian airspace.
According to flightradar24, while Air India does not directly serve Russian cities, it does rely on Russian airspace for all flights originating from India bound for the United States, Canada, and certain European destinations. Avoiding Russian territory would significantly extend flight durations. Other Asian airlines that utilize Russian airspace include Air Arabia, Sri Lankan, Flydubai, Cham Wings, and Uzbekistan Airways.
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Four African airlines still fly into Moscow, These are Air Algerie, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc.