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    Explained: Impact of Russia-Ukraine war on global aviation and why is that airspace important?

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    Explained: Impact of Russia-Ukraine war on global aviation and why is that airspace important?

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    Russian airspace has a unique advantage due to geography, provides crucial Asia-Europe corridors, and hence airlines save money and fuel. The immediate impact is the concern over longer routes, extra fuel for airlines, impact on cargo traffic as global supply-chain is set to be hit, flight cancellations, and the increase in usage of alternative routes such as Kazakhstan's airspace usage has been tripled in the recent days.

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine and airspace restrictions pose huge challenges to global aviation as hundreds of flights that used to fly over Russian air space now have to opt for alternative routes, leading to an increase in operating costs due to more fuel burn. The sector faces a double whammy as ATF prices are also rising due to soaring crude prices.
    Airlines are bracing for impact as the global aviation map could be redrawn due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has been closed to civilian flights since February 24 after Russia escalated military advances in the country. After Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union, Canada has shut its airspace to Russian aircraft. The US too has also banned Russian aircraft from American airspace.
    In line with global giants imposing sanctions against Russia, Boeing and Airbus have also suspended maintenance support to the Russian fleet. Do remember that Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, which flies to 146 destinations worldwide, has a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Russia has also retaliated to the flight ban and has shut its air space to around 40 nations.
    Also Read:
    Why is Russian airspace important?
    Russian airspace has a unique advantage due to geography, provides crucial Asia-Europe corridors, and hence airlines save money and fuel.
    The immediate impact is the concern over longer routes, extra fuel for airlines, impact on cargo traffic as global supply-chain is set to be hit, flight cancellations, and the increase in usage of alternative routes such as Kazakhstan's airspace usage has been tripled in the recent days. Also, globally there is caution among airlines due to the conflict zone as in the past we have seen the MH17 incident where a missile shot down Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, killing all on board, in Ukraine airspace in 2014 during the then-ongoing conflict.
    For some airlines, the impact is more severe such as Finland’s Fin Air’s core business model is based on shorter routes via Russian air space, after the ban, the airline says most Asia flights are now neither financially sustainable nor competitive.
    Fin Air managed the shortest flight time between Europe and Asia as it has an agreement with Russia to fly 80 flights a week over Siberia.
    "Negative financial effects on Fin air are considerable due to closure of Russian air space. Circulation of Russian air space extends flight time to Asia to such an extent that operation of most cargo and passenger flights to Asia is neither financially sustainable nor competitive," Fin Air said on the implications of the closure of Russian air space.
    For Virgin Atlantic, flight paths have to be adjusted for some of its services between the UK, Pakistan, and India. Flight times on these routes will be extended by between 15 minutes and an hour.
    There are nations that continue to use Russian air space including India. Indian airline Air India uses Russian air space for flights to the US, Paris, Frankfurt.
    Understanding the air space a bit more
    Air India which flies to New York via Russia completes the journey in 14:28 hours whereas American Airlines which uses an alternative route takes 15:49 hours. For Frankfurt to Seoul, Lufthansa used to take 9:50 hours via Russia and now the detour is taking 11:44 hours, similarly for Aeroflot, before the conflict, Moscow to Cairo was 4:23 hours and after conflict, the time duration has become 5:50 hours.
    Moving forward, airlines are expecting the operating costs to rise and the hike in aviation turbine fuel costs could erode recovery. Jet fuel prices in India have already jumped by 23 percent since January to Rs 93,530 per kl on March 1, the fifth hike this year.
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