Russian airspace ban means pricier flights for Canadian travellers and airlines
MONTREAL — Ross Aimer still recalls the snow-white Russian tundra unfurling on the horizon during flights he piloted between the U.S. and Asia.
“In summertime, it’s all daytime flying. That’s beautiful views,” said Aimer, CEO of California-based Aero Consulting Experts and a former United Airlines captain.
Those vistas are no longer available to flight crews from many Western countries. Russia barred Canadian, American, British and European Union operators from its airspace more than a year ago in response to airspace prohibitions against it by those states and others that support Ukraine, after Moscow invaded its neighbour in February 2022.
European airlines are among the most affected, having to reroute planes on hours-long detours to reach Asia and parts of the Middle East.
But Canadian carriers are impacted too, with planes en route to East Asia and South Asia forced to skirt around Russian airspace daily, and no sign of relief on the radar. The detours mean longer trips, greater fuel and labour costs and ultimately higher fares for passengers amid soaring inflation and already pricey international travel.
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