Russia, UK close airspace to each other after Ukraine invasion

Jed Leicester/

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the United Kingdom banned all Russian airlines from its airspace. The airline group IAG announced it would not use Russian airspace for overflights. In retaliation, Russia also barred British aircraft from entering its airspace.

On the evening of February 24, 2022, the United Kingdom announced a series of new sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, which started earlier the same day. Among them, Russian airlines were prohibited from operating flights to the United Kingdom.  

“I’ve signed restrictions prohibiting all scheduled Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or touching down on British soil,” said Grant Shapps, UK’s Secretary of State for Transport. “Putin’s heinous actions will not be ignored, and we will never tolerate those who put people’s lives in danger.” 

Until now, Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship airline, operated a daily flight between London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) as well as flights between Farnborough Airport (FAB) and Nice Cote d’Azur Airport (NCE). 

IAG, owner of British Airways, took the decision to avoid using Russian airspace for overflights on its Asian routes. 

“Following the UK government’s decision to ban Aeroflot from landing in the UK, we have taken the decision not to use Russian airspace for overflights,” IAG CEO Luis Gallego said. “The impact for us is not huge as at the moment we are only flying to a small number of destinations in Asia, and we can re-route our flights.” 

On February 25, 2022, the Federal Agency for Air Transport, the Russian civil aviation regulator, announced that aircraft registered in the UK would be banned from entering its airspace. 

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