Tuesday , 23 April 2024
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Global Economy

Will Ukrainian airspace become a risk?

The airline Norwegian will avoid Ukrainian airspace in the future. Norwegian communications chief Esben Tuman told Norwegian broadcaster TV2. The aggravated security situation surrounding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia led to this decision. The airline says it does not offer direct flights to Ukraine, but occasionally flies over western parts of Ukrainian airspace on routes to Antalya in Turkey, for example. Here you will take a detour in the future, eastern parts of the country have been avoided for years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.

The Dutch airline KLM announced at the weekend that it would discontinue its flight connections to Ukraine. The decision was made on the basis of a "comprehensive analysis of the security situation," it said.

Nearly 300 dead in MH17 crash

The painful memories of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have played a significant role in the decision. The plane crashed in 2014 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board, including 198 from the Netherlands. Almost three hours after take-off there was the last contact with the air traffic controllers, the machine had been shot down by Buk rocket launchers over pro-Russian territory. In response, the Ukrainian government completely closed the airspace over the Donbass.

Ukraine wants to keep airspace open

Now the situation in Ukraine is extremely tense again: the government in Kiev is currently advising against flights over the Black Sea. This recommendation applies from Monday to Saturday, the Ukrainian aviation authority announced. The reason given by the government was a planned Russian naval maneuver in the Black Sea, which was announced in January.

Nevertheless, Kiev wants to keep the airspace over Ukraine open: At an extraordinary meeting, the government decided to provide more than 16.6 billion hryvnia (520 million euros) to ensure air traffic in its airspace in the current crisis.

Lufthansa continues its flights via Ukraine

Yesterday, a flight from Funchal Airport in Madeira en route to Kiev in Moldova had to be diverted. The affected airline SkyUp said on Facebook that the foreign leasing company for the aircraft had banned flights into Ukrainian airspace due to the US war warnings. The US reiterated fears over the weekend that a Russian attack on Ukraine could be imminent.

Other airlines are already considering similar steps. The German Lufthansa is currently continuing its flights to Ukraine. "This also corresponds to the assessment of national and international authorities," the airline explained this morning, emphasizing that the situation is still being closely monitored: "The safety of our passengers and crew members has top priority at all times."

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