The United States has now banned Russian planes from its skies
Yesterday, the United States announced that it was following the measures taken by other countries and banning Russian flights from American airspace. President Joe Biden made the announcement during his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, adding that banning flights from Russia will “further isolate Russia and add pressure extra on its economy”.
A statement released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Transportation notes that the ban is far-reaching, as it “includes passenger and cargo flights, as well as scheduled and charter flights, thereby closing U.S. airspace to all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian air carriers”. civilian aircraft.
The decision follows similar actions taken by other countries and follows the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. On February 27, for example, Canada declared that it had closed its airspace to Russian planes, as did a large number of European countries, from Ireland and the United Kingdom to France, Belgium, Norway , Sweden and Luxembourg. The Flightradar24 air tracking website has a full list of countries that have implemented a flight ban here, as well as additional information on airspace closures over and around Ukraine, as well as on measures that Russia has taken in reciprocity with the airlines of other countries.
The U.S. move is major but not unexpected, says Todd Harrison, who directs the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s not too surprising,” Harrison says. “Perhaps the only surprising thing is that the United States took a little longer than other countries to reach this milestone.”
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Between the US shutdown and the others, “it’s going to drastically shrink the Russian aviation industry,” Harrison adds. “He’s cutting so many routes that he’ll probably cripple Russian airlines.”
And airspace closures are likely to have other ripple effects on the aviation industry as well, Harrison speculates, noting that airlines often don’t actually own all the planes they operate, but rather lease them. “Companies that actually own these planes will now retire them. [of Russia],” he says. “You’re going to have a glut of planes available for hire in other areas now.”
Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have also cut ties with Russian carriers. “We have suspended major operations in Moscow and temporarily closed our office in Kyiv. We are also suspending parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines,” a Boeing spokesperson said by email. Airbus did the same, The Wall Street Journal and other reported outlets. And the Farnborough International Airshow said on Wednesday that Russia would not be welcome there when it takes place in July.
How these actions will affect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s course of action is, of course, an open question. “I don’t think he’s likely to change his behavior,” Harrison says. “If anything, he can double down on his invasion of Ukraine – what will change, however, is that he is weakening Russia, significantly, by his actions.”