Japan Airlines (JAL) and ANA Cargo canceled air services between Japan and Europe due to safety concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent complications in accessing Russian airspace. 

On March 3, 2022, Japan’s flag carrier JAL announced the cancellation of eight flights scheduled to and from Europe. The Shinagawa-headquartered airline decided to suspend three passenger services, JL045, JL047, and JL043, that were scheduled to fly travelers from Haneda (HND) to Paris (CDG), Helsinki (HEL), and London (LHR) respectively. The carrier also canceled two return flights, JL046 and JL044, which were scheduled to arrive at HND airport from Paris (CDG) and London (LHR). 

JAL also canceled three freight operations, JL048, JL407, and JL408, scheduled to ferry cargo goods from Helsinki (HEL) to Haneda (HND) as well as from Narita (NRT) to Frankfurt (FRA) and from Frankfurt (FRA) back to Narita (NRT). 

The carrier briefly explained that the decision had been made “due to the current situation in Russia and Ukraine” and said that the move would “ensure the utmost safety”, according to a JAL statement published on March 3, 2022.  

On the same day, Japan’s ANA Cargo, the cargo arm of All Nippon Airways, also suspended eight flights to and from Japan. The flights were scheduled to take-off on March 4, 2022. According to ANA’s website, flights NH211, NH212, NH215, NH216, NH203, NH204, NH223, NH224, which were to and from the same airports as the those suspended by JAL, were also canceled.  

However, ANA cited a more precise reason for the cancellation of flights, publishing a statement on its website.  

The statement reads: “Please kindly be informed of the following ANA's flight suspension between Japan and Europe due to high possibility of its operations not being able to overfly Russian territory under the current Ukraine situation.” 

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Japanese companies were able to cross Russian airspace while serving the European network. However, JAL and ANA cargo join a growing number of carriers that have cancelled flights between Europe and Asia in the wake of the crisis. 

Neither airline has indicated when flights will be resumed.