Japanese airlines cancel all flights to and from Europe — Analysis

Airlines that used Russia’s airspace for their European flights have cited safety risks amid the war in Ukraine

Japan’s flag carrier, Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. (JAL), along with another major airline in the country, belonging to ANA Holdings Inc, have canceled all flights to and from Europe, citing safety concerns amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters the announcements were made by both companies on Thursday. A JAL spokesperson said the airline was “Monitoring the situation continuously is vital.” and, in light of the “We have made the decision to cancel all flights due to Ukraine’s current situation and other risks.

ANA Cargo’s website, in turn, cited the “Due to current Ukraine circumstances, there is a high chance that its operations will not be able to fly Russia.

Under normal circumstances, both companies use Russia’s airspace for their flights to and from Europe. JAL and ANA reportedly flew 60 passengers per week prior to the outbreak of conflict. London, Paris, Frankfurt and Helsinki were the most popular destinations.

Last week, JAL also canceled a weekly return flight between Moscow and Tokyo, “In light of current events in Russia and Ukraine.

US closes airspace to Russian flights

According to Reuters reports, Taiwanese aircraft have also stopped flying over Russian territory.

As of March 3, Korean Air Lines continues to use Russia’s airspace, however.

More than 35 countries have blocked Russian aircraft from their airspace since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24th. Russia has followed suit and closed the routes linking Europe to Asia with Western airlines.

Japan hasn’t yet made its airspace closed to Russian aircraft, but Moscow has imposed no such restrictions, so technically, Japanese airlines can fly above Russia.

Many companies were forced to cancel their flights between the European Union and north Asia because of these restrictions. According to Reuters the alternatives are usually longer and require more fuel, so they can transport less cargo.

In addition to the massive disruptions to air travel on both sides, Russia has been slapped with a raft of crippling sanctions over the past week, which, among other things, target the country’s central bank’s assets, several major commercial banks, and the country’s leadership directly.

When launching the military offensive in Ukraine in late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin named the “demilitarization & denazification” of its neighbor as the operation’s main objectives. He also mentioned the importance of protecting the Russian-speaking people in the Donbass Republics. Ukraine and the West, however, insist that Russia is waging an aggressive and “unprovoked” war against a sovereign nation, with Moscow’s grievances being merely a pretext. Some Ukrainian allies and the Ukrainian government suspect Putin of establishing a pro-Russian puppet government at Kiev.

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