Impact of Russian Airspace Closure

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By Vincent Valery


April 21, 2022, © Leeham News: In the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United Kingdom decided to ban Aeroflot and other Russian airlines from its airspace.

Credit: Finnair

A tit-for-tat escalation led to what would have been unthinkable only weeks prior: Western European and North American commercial airlines can't fly through Russian airspace. Flight restrictions are essentially back to those that existed for many carriers at the height of the Cold War.

The closure of Russian airspace to Western carriers will impact many routes, notably between Western Europe and East Asia. Flights are now longer, increasing fuel burn and reducing payload capabilities.

While passenger airlines have caught most of the attention, the impact is also severe for cargo airlines. As a result, LNA thought it relevant to start a series about the effects of Russian airspace closure on several standard commercial airline routes.

We will start by providing historical context and listing the impacted passenger airlines.


  • A gradual opening of the Siberian corridor during the USSR;
  • The proliferation of routes in the post-soviet era;
  • Varying level of impact by airline and route.

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