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Canada Banned Russian Planes From its Skies – Aeroflot Simply Ignored the Ban And Wasn’t Stopped

Canada Banned Russian Planes From its Skies – Aeroflot Simply Ignored the Ban And Wasn’t Stopped

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An Aeroflot plane ignored a Canadian airspace ban on Sunday evening and flew above three different provinces with no attempt to stop the Airbus A350 aircraft from violating the ban.

The incursion occurred just hours after Canada joined the United Kingdom and European Union in barring all Russian owned and operated jets from its airspace as part of a series of sanctions designed to punish President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.

Aeroflot flight AFL 111 from Miami to Moscow departed at around 3:12 pm on Sunday and arrived in Canadian airspace around three hours later. Rather than being intercepted, the passenger jet was allowed to violate Canadian airspace unchallenged.

On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the aircraft did observe the EU airspace ban and carefully avoided flying through airspace belonging to Norway, Sweden and Finland as this flight would normally fly through.

Canada’s Transport Ministry said it would launch a review into Aeroflot’s actions, as well as the country’s independent air navigation service provider NAVCAN which seemingly allowed the breach to happen.

“We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations,” Transport Canada said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.

Various reports suggest NAVCAN accidentally granted Aeroflot permission to fly through Canadian airspace, while some sources are now saying Aeroflot claimed the flight was a “humanitarian” mission.

Canada had announced the airspace ban just hours earlier, calling the ban “strong and decisive action”. The closure of Canadian airspace applies to all Russian-owned, chartered or operated aircraft and includes airspace above Canada’s territorial waters.

The ban came into effect immediately and a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) had already been published when Aeroflot violated the ban.

Announcing the ban, Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said: “All of Canada is united in its outrage of President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft.”

“The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine.”

Russia has reciprocated airspace bans with countries that have banned its jets from their airspace. The United Kingdom was the first nation to ban Russian aircraft last week and several Eastern European countries quickly followed.

By Sunday, a slew of other European countries joined the list and this was eventually followed by a coordinated EU-wide airspace closure to Russian aircraft.

The Biden administration, however, has declined to ban Russian aircraft and Aeroflot is still free to serve the United States despite the ongoing atrocities being committed in Ukraine. Getting around other airspace closures, though, remains a challenge.

On Sunday, an Aeroflot flight to New York was forced to turn around mid-flight and return to Moscow after the Canadian airspace closure came into force.

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