Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – After the Russian occupation, Ukraine closed its airspace. On Thursday, the US government expanded the area on the border with Ukraine, where US pilots are not allowed to fly. The FAA also announced the release of a broad-based pilot notice “covering all of Ukraine, Belarus and part of western Russia.”
Several commercial airlines suspended flights to Ukraine, including Lufthansa and Air France, earlier this week after tensions escalated. Countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have also advised their citizens to leave Ukraine.
The U.S. government issued a travel warning to Ukraine on February 12 “due to increased threats of Russian military action,” as well as continuing concerns about COVID-19.
The UK government has also advised against any travel to Ukraine, stating that “trade routes outside Ukraine and transit routes to Ukraine may be closed”.
The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency has warned of “significant risks” to civilian aircraft flying near the Ukrainian border.
Here’s what we know about how travel to Eastern Europe and Russia was affected after the invasion of Ukraine.
Is the opportunity to travel to Eastern Europe still available ..?
Air traffic continues outside the heavily affected areas. In Russia, Ukraine borders Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency stressed that “operators must exercise extreme caution” and avoid the use of airspace within 161 nautical kilometers from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Moldova closed its airspace, while Belarus banned flights over part of the country.
Neither the UK nor the US government has issued travel warnings to Ukraine’s border states, or other destinations in Eastern Europe, as a result of the conflict.
All countries bordering Ukraine were classified as the fourth level of “high-risk” travel destinations in terms of the Covid-19 explosion, in the list of US Centers for Disease Control and Control.
Gwen Kozlowski, a Florida-based travel consultant specializing in Central European travel and president of travel agency Exeter International, told CNN on February 24 that her agency is taking questions from travelers about upcoming trips to Poland. , but no booking has been canceled now.
“We have passengers traveling from the end of March to April to Poland, but this is more than a month later. It is impossible to predict how the situation will develop by then. We are in a waiting mode,” he said. Kozlowski.
My flight is supposed to fly over Ukrainian airspace. Will the flight be redirected?
If you are traveling on an itinerary that currently exceeds the limited airspace, the airline will change your itinerary.
Recent images from the ADS-B Exchange aircraft tracker show the empty airspace over Ukraine and its border with Russia.
“For aviation, safety is always our priority,” Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general of aviation industry, said in a statement to CNN on February 24.
“IATA helps facilitate the exchange of relevant information with airlines, from governmental and non-governmental sources, to support airlines as they plan their operations around the closure of airspace in Ukraine and parts of Russia,” he added.
Is it still possible to travel to Russia?
Russian airspace on the border with Ukraine has been closed to civilian flights. He also imposed some restrictions on flights within Russia.
In January, the US State Department classified Russia as “Level 4”, recommending against travel to Russia based on “ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine, possible harassment of US citizens and the embassy’s limited ability to assist citizens.” Americans in Russia. ” to the explosion of “Covid-19” and other factors.
The UK’s recommendation to its citizens from 24 February was more specific, advising against any travel, but essential, in some Russian regions on the Ukrainian border. The government provided detailed information about the increase in restrictions and restrictions on Russian domestic flights, as well as warnings of increased police presence and identity checks.
The UK also banned Russian civilian aircraft from entering its airspace and flying over its territorial waters from 24 February to 23 May. Russian airline Aeroflot currently operates direct flights between Moscow and London – Heathrow and Gatwick, according to what has been published on its website.
Canadian citizens were advised to avoid traveling to regions of Russia bordering Ukraine.
“It seems that most Russian travelers are in a waiting mode at the moment, but this reality can certainly change, depending on how events unfold,” travel agent Kozlovsky told CNN.
Meanwhile, famous travel writer Rick Steves, who organizes trips to Europe, announced on Thursday that he will no longer travel to Russia all year round due to the invasion of Ukraine.
“Our mission at (Rick Steves Europe) is to help Americans understand the world through travel,” Stevens wrote on Twitter. “When travelers visit Russia, they bring in their dollars to support Putin’s aggression. We have now canceled all flights to Russia for 2022.” he wrote on Twitter “.
Do travel affect him to that extent?
Events are accelerating in Ukraine, but it is unclear how long this will affect airspace over Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Russia.
According to travel advice from the UK government, restrictions on domestic flights to Russia are currently scheduled for 2 March.