US airlines want rival foreign carriers banned from Russian airspace

Delta Airlines Airbus A320 and American Airlines jet at Los Angeles airport (LAX) in the USA
Markus Mainka /

US airlines want rival foreign carriers departing, landing or transitioning through America banned from using Russian airspace, according to reports.  

The airlines are unhappy with the spiraling costs involved with circumventing Russia when flying to destinations such as China, India and Japan.  

According to the Washington Post executives are complaining to government officials that foreign rivals, whose countries have good relations with Russia, are able to fly over Russia can offer cheaper tickets and quicker flights.  

In February, 2023, Airlines for America, an aviation association, said: “Foreign airlines using Russian airspace on flights to and from the US. are gaining a significant competitive advantage over US carriers in major markets, including China and India.” 

Carriers such as Air India, Emirates and China Eastern Airlines can keep costs down because they fly shorter routes from/to the States through Russian airspace. 

The US airlines are lobbying for their foreign rivals to face the same restrictions and avoid Russian airspace.  

Marli Collier, an Airlines for America spokesperson, said the US Government should “take action to ensure that foreign carriers overflying Russia do not depart, land or transit through US airports.” 

The Washington Post reported that the officials from US President Joe Biden’s team are currently considering a Transportation Department order that would ban Chinese airlines that fly passengers to the US from flying through Russian airspace. 

Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines are understood to be leading the charge for change. 

As well as financial disadvantages, security and safety risks are also being raised about US citizens using foreign carriers over Russia.  

“When foreign airlines overfly Russian territory, even if they do not expect to land on Russian soil, they run the risk of unplanned diversions in Russia for safety, medical, mechanical or more nefarious reasons,” wrote members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

Planning new routes around Russia is also posing difficulties to abide by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules. 

The FAA says that long-haul commercial planes must always be within 180 minutes of a suitable airport in case an emergency landing is needed. 

President Joe Biden announced on March 1, 2022, a ban on Russian flights from American airspace due to President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Shortly after Russia retaliated, banning US carriers and much of Europe’s fleets from its skies.  

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!