Tonight, Germany temporarily stopped accepting Russian Airlines planes that took off in Russia. The reason was an incident around Lufthansa flights this morning. According to the German Ministry of Transport, it could not go forward because the Russian permission took a long time.
The ministry said in a press release that the Russian aviation authority “failed to give permission in a timely manner” for two flights scheduled for this morning to Moscow and St. Petersburg, forcing them to be canceled on Tuesday evening. So Germany decided not to grant permission for flights operated by Russian airlines “because of reciprocity”. Aeroflot and S7 flights have also been cancelled.
“Once Lufthansa flights are approved, so will Russian airlines,” the ministry said. Lufthansa itself expects that “other passenger flights to Russia that are due to be approved in June will soon be accepted.” Neither the ministry nor the company provided any explanation for the reasons behind this.
Tonight, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said the company’s flights would still be allowed to land in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. State news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti reported that Russian airlines Aeroflot and S7 are also resuming flights to Germany.
The situation in Belarus
Last week, two Air France flights and one from Lufthansa’s Austrian Airlines subsidiary were cancelled. Russia did not authorize the flight path modification to avoid Belarusian airspace.
Major European airlines have been avoiding the airspace of the former Soviet republic since Ryanair’s plane had to land in Minsk. The plane was on its way from Athens to Vilnius. In Minsk, an opponent of the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko was removed from the plane and arrested.
A Kremlin spokesman said the cancellation of Air France flights was only related to “technical issues”. European air traffic controller Eurocontrol explained that flights between Europe and Russia are “allowed to follow specific routes”. “If an airline wants to change course, there must be a prior agreement between the airline in question and Russia.”
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