Impact of Russian Airspace Closure on EU Operators


Due to the closure of Russian airspace due to the war in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions, European Union airlines have to look for alternative routes to connect airports in Europe with airports in China, South Korea, Japan, and other East Asian countries. Eurocontrol presented a map showing the current routes of airlines flying from Europe to East Asia, as well as new routes marked in blue. Without much analysis, it is possible to see how blue routes are much longer than red ones. The picture also shows a table showing how long some routes have been extended with increasing flight duration.

Finnair is in an awkward situation as their planes have to bypass enclosed airspace while greatly extending the journey. On the Helsinki-Tokyo route, the additional distance that planes have to cover between the two cities is 2,137 nautical miles or 3,960 kilometers, which is 286 minutes or almost 5 hours longer. On the route Helsinki – Beijing, the additional distance is 1,729 nautical miles or 3,200 kilometers, and extend the trip by 232 minutes or almost 4 hours longer.

From Frankfurt on the flight to Tokyo, the aircraft must cover an additional 1,070 nautical miles, or almost 2,000 additional kilometers, which extends the journey by 140 minutes, or roughly 2.5 hours. From Frankfurt to Beijing, it has been extended by 710 nautical miles or 1,300 kilometers, and the journey is 91 minutes or 1.5 hours longer.

From Paris to Tokyo, the trip was extended by 1,112 nautical miles, or almost 2,100 kilometers, and a 150-minute longer trip, or 2.5 hours more.

From Amsterdam to Beijing, it was extended by 855 nautical miles, or a little more than 1,500 kilometers, and the trip was extended by 105 minutes, or almost 2 hours more.

Due to detours, airlines have to use more fuel, and consequently, the number of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere increases.