Russian airlines at risk of tighter scrutiny in U.S.
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on May 23, 2018, new rules for the Russian cargo and commercial airlines operating in U.S. airports. Three concerned companies – Aeroflot, AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Yakutia Airlines – have seven days to comply.
The DOT is requiring of the Russian companies to provide a list of flights they are planning to operate to and from U.S. airports before the deadline on May 30, 2018. The list must include information on the type of aircraft, dates and hours of intended departures or landings. The U.S. authorities will also evaluate if the Russian operations in U.S. “may be contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest”.
This decision comes among growing political tensions between the two countries, surrounding the Russian alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and the war in Syria.
In April 2018, the Russian government was expected to renew authorization for U.S. airlines to use four routes through its airspace, as the deal was about to reach its deadline. However, only three of the four routes were renewed. The last one, going to Asia through Southern Russia, was blocked, meaning that the carriers will now have to follow a longer and thus costlier path. According to the DOT, “U.S. carriers are now experiencing significant disruption to all-cargo services between Europe and Asia”. The approval will be renegotiated on October 28, 2018.
The new set of regulations announced on May 23, 2018, comes as a warning shot. In the meantime, the U.S. authorities have sent a request for formal negotiation with the Russian regulators before the end of the month. The latter had previously cancelled a meeting that was to take place in Washing between May 18 and 19, 2018.
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