British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday evening that Russian airlines such as Aeroflot and Oneworld alliance member S7 Airlines were “actively promoting unsafe practices” and urged British citizens from flying with any Russian airline.
Russian airlines are already banned from flying through UK airspace as part of a slew of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the British government. The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now ruled that all Russian carriers must also now be added to the so-called Air Safety List.
The Air Safety List comprises of airlines that don’t meet international safety standards. Airlines featured on the list are either completely banned from flying to the UK or are heavily restricted in their operations.
The CAA created its own list after Britain left the European Union but most of the banned airlines feature on the EU Air Safety List as well. As of late 2021, around 97 airlines from 15 different countries were banned from flying in Europe due to serious safety concerns.
The UK was the first country in the world to ban Russian airlines from using its airspace following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As of March 25, around 36 countries had closed their airspace to Russian airlines in protest at the conflict.
Along with closing airspace to Russian airlines, countries have also imposed economic sanctions on Russia’s aerospace industry including a ban on exporting aircraft spare parts to Russia or offering insurance services to carrier’s in the country.
Russia was forced to all but ground international flights following the sanctions but in recent days Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has said that the country plans to restart services to 52 ‘friendly countries’ – so-called because they haven’t banned Russian planes.
Despite the risk of aircraft lessors attempting to repossess planes in foreign countries, Mishustin claims Russia could soon restart services to countries such as South Africa, Argentina and Pakistan.
There are fears, however, that without access to spare parts and maintenance services, Russian airlines may pose a safety risk. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims it will take two months for the extent of disruption to start becoming apparent.
IATA has expressed opposition to spare part and maintenance sanctions over air safety fears.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.