This article covers a developing story. Continue to check back with us as we will be adding more information as it becomes available.

For several months, tension had been growing as Russia assembled troops on its border with Ukraine. There were warnings that Russia was planning to invade its neighbor, which President Putin had denied. However, an invasion was launched on February 24th.

While the aviation industry continued flying to, from, and through Ukraine during the build-up, the situation rapidly changed in late February. We've seen significant waves of suspensions and flight bans on a local and international scale. Overall, the aviation industry has been rocked by the tragic events that have unfolded in Eastern Europe.

UIA
Photo: Getty Images

Last Update: 10:30 GMT March 6th, 2022. This article will be updated with relevant news as and when it breaks. General news about the crisis' impact on aviation will be found at the start in chronological order, while airlines adding and canceling flights to the region are included in separate sections towards the end of the article.

  • Just 1 Exception: Aeroflot Halts International Flights

    Aeroflot announced that it will cancel all international flights except to Minsk, Belarus, from March 8th. This announcement came after the country's aviation agency recommended that airlines with foreign leased aircraft not fly to international destinations.

    Just 1 Exception: Aeroflot To Halt International Flights
  • Airbus & Boeing Cut Off Parts Supply To Russian Operators

    Boeing and Airbus are turning the screws on an increasingly isolated Russia, as the pair have withdrawn the supply of parts and support to the airlines operating in the nation. Within 24 hours of each other, both planemakers made an announcement regarding their near-term future with Russian airlines.

    Aeroflot Airbus A350-941 VP-BXC (2) (Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying)

    Airbus & Boeing Cut Off Parts Supply To Russian Operators
  • Russian Flights Banned From The United States Over Ukraine

    The United States has become the latest country to ban Russian aircraft from its airspace. Joe Biden announced the move during his State of the Union address yesterday. The ban will take effect as of the end of the day today (Wednesday).

    Russian Flights Banned From The United States Over Ukraine
  • Slovakia Makes Exception To Airspace Closure For Fuel Delivery

    The Government of Slovakia allowed the landing in Bratislava of a cargo flight operated by the Russian operator Volga-Dnepr Airlines. Allowing the landing of this flight was special one-time permission since the European Union has banned Russian airlines and aircraft from its airspace. 

    Slovakia Makes Exception To Airspace Closure For Fuel Delivery
  • Ukraine International Airlines Pauses Flights Until March 23

    Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) confirmed it will extend the suspension of scheduled and charter services until 23:59 March 23, 2022, Kyiv time. The Kyiv-based airline had temporarily begun pausing flights last week after the Ukrainian Government closed the country's airspace to civilian aircraft.

    Ukraine International Airlines Pauses Flights Until March 23
  • Hundreds of Irish-Owned Aircraft To Be Ordered Back From Russia

    Irish-owned aircraft on lease in Russia will be recalled by their owners as sanctions against Russia escalate. Major aviation lessors based in Ireland, including AerCap and SMBC Aviation, have hundreds of aircraft in Russia.

    S7 Airlines aircraft performs first flight in Russia on biofuel

    Hundreds of Irish-Owned Aircraft To Be Ordered Back From Russia
  • EU Bans Russian Flights And Aircraft From Its Airspace

    President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the EU is prohibiting Russian aviation activity over its airspace. Russian flights and planes registered or controlled by entities in the country won't be able to fly across, land, or depart in EU member countries.

    EU Bans Russian Flights And Aircraft From Its Airspace
    • Canada Follows Europe With Airspace Ban On Russia

      Russia is fast running out of international airspace as more and more countries ban its aircraft from flying over. Another to join the list is Canada, closing its airspace to all Russian planes while announcing a $25 million aid to Ukraine at the same time.

      Canada Follows Europe With Airspace Ban On Russia
  • Ukraine Confirms That The World's Largest Plane Has Been Destroyed

    Ukraine officially revealed the fate of the largest aircraft on Earth. The country's authorities have confirmed that the world's only Antonov An-225 Mriya has been destroyed following Russian attacks.


    Antonov AN-225 at Hostomel Airport in Ukraine Getty 530089186

    (Photo: Getty Images)

     

    Ukraine Confirms That The World's Largest Plane Has Been Destroyed
  • European Airlines Increasingly Suspend Flights To Russia

    As the European Union prepares to possibly ban Russian airlines and aircraft from its airspace, Germany and Netherlands’ flag carriers, Lufthansa and KLM, have announced they will not fly to Russia. The decision from both operators come as direct sanctions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


    Boeing B747-830 D-ABYH Lufthansa MMMX Aug 18 2021 AF 01

    (Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez (@gquimar)

     

    KLM And Lufthansa Stop Flights To Russia
    • Another Suspension: airBaltic Stops Flights To Russia

      airBaltic canceled all its services in and out of Russia. The flag carrier of Latvia notes that the flight suspensions are in effect from today and will last until at least March 26th.

      Another Suspension: airBaltic Stops Flights To Russia
  • Poland Becomes 1st EU Country To Ban Russian Airlines From Its Airspace

    The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday its government is ready to close Poland’s airspace for Russian airlines, similar to what the UK did earlier on the week, banning all Russian-registered aircraft from flying over its territory. Likewise, the Czech Republic has banned Russian Airlines, kicking off a trend in the region.

    Poland Becomes 1st EU Country To Ban Russian Airlines From Its Airspace
  • Europe is preparing to ban aircraft sales to Russian Airlines

    The European Union is drawing up plans to ban the export of aircraft and spare parts to Russian carriers. This would form part of a package of economic sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

    Aeroflot Airbus A350 Getty

    Photo: Getty Images

    Europe Prepares To Ban Aircraft And Parts Sales To Russian Airlines
  • The UK bans Aeroflot from landing at its airports

    Last night the UK Prime Minister laid out sanctions for Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. One of the sanctions announced was that Aeroflot would be banned from landing at UK airports. A CAA spokesperson commented,


    “Following the announcement by the Prime Minister in Parliament today, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the foreign carrier permit held by Aeroflot Russia Airlines (Aeroflot) until further notice. This means that Aeroflot will not be permitted to operate flights to or from the United Kingdom until further notice."

    Aeroflot Banned From The United Kingdom As Part Of Russian Sanctions
    • Russia retaliates by banning UK carriers from its airspace

      This morning Russia retaliated against the UK's sanction by banning the country's carriers from its airspace. This could lead to increased flight times for some flights from the UK to East Asia.

      British Flights Banned From Russia In Retaliation To Sanctions
  • Ukrainian airspace closes

    At 02:45 local time, Ukraine took the decision to close its airspace after the Russian Ministry of Defence warned of high risk to civil aviation. The action has caused all civil operators flying to, from, and through the country to suspend or reroute such flights.


    Aviation authorities monitoring the situation have now declared the airspace above and around Ukraine as an active conflict zone. EASA, the European regulator, has warned that civil aircraft may be misidentified or even deliberately targeted. The airspace above the country has emptied out following its closure.

    uk-0

    Photo: FlightRadar24.com

    Ukrainian Airspace Closes As Russian Forces Move Into The Country
  • NOTAMS Issued regarding Ukrainian Airspace

    According to Safe Airspace, a growing list of countries have issued NOTAMs regarding flights in Ukraine. The latest are,

    - Germany: Potential risk of military threats to Civil Aviation. A complete flight ban is being considered.

    - United Kingdom: UK airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace.

    - France: French airlines are requested not to enter Ukrainian airspace, or Russian airspace within 100 nautical miles of Ukraine.

    - Italy: Italian airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    - Belgium: Belgian airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    - Malta: Maltese airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    - Croatia: Croatian airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    - Czech Republic: Czech operators have been banned from Ukrainian airspace.

    - Hungary: Hungarian airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    - Ireland: Irish airlines are banned from Ukraine's airspace and advised to exercise caution in some Russian airspace.

    • FAA bans US airline from Ukrainian Airspace

      The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned US carriers from flying in the airspace over Ukraine. This was communicated via a NOTAM issued on Thurday (February 24th).

      FAA Bans US Airlines From Ukraine Airspace
  • Ukraine's neighbor Moldova also closes its airspace

    Following Ukraine's decision to close its airspace, its neighbor Moldova has taken a similar stance. Around an hour ago the country to the southwest of Ukraine closed its airspace due to the situation. Commenting on Facebook, the country's Vice-Prime Minster remarked (translated),


    "Taking into account the situation in the region, CSS recommended closing the airspace of the Republic of Moldova. The Civil Aviation Authority will execute the recommendation, the airspace will be closed starting at 12:00. Flights will be directed towards other airports."


    Last week an Air Moldova Airbus A321 took to the skies above the country with a flight path that spelled out the word "RELAX".

    Screenshot 2022-02-18 005950

    Photo: FlightRadar24.com

  • Bees move its aircraft out of Ukraine

    Ukrainian Airline Bees has followed Ukraine International Airlines by removing its fleet from the country. The airline sent all four of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft to Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport for safekeeping. The lessor ordered the fleet transfer, and will return the aircraft as soon as the situation in the country cools down.

    Ukrainian Airline Bees Moves Its Boeing 737s To France
  • Ukraine International ferries aircraft to Spain

    On February 14th Ukraine International Airlines ferried five of its Boeing 737-800s to Castellon Airport (CDT) in Spain. Two more of the airline's 12 737-800s are in Serbia for maintenance. The airline reportedly had to remove the aircraft as insurers became uneasy with the risk of the aircraft remaining in Ukraine.
    Ukraine International Airlines UIA Boeing 737  
    (Photo: Getty Images)

    UIA Ferries Planes To Spain As Insurance Cover For Ukrainian Airspace Ends
  • Ukraine allocates cash to calm insurers and lessors

    On February 13th it was revealed that Ukraine had set aside UAH 16.6 billion (US$592 million) to provide guarantees for lessors and insurance companies. The move was prompted as some insurers reportedly told airlines that their aircraft were not covered for war risks.

    Ukrainian Government Pays To Calm Aircraft Insurance Concerns
  • Ukrainian plane unable to enter Ukraine

    On Saturday (February 12th), a SkyUp Airlines Boeing 737-800 took off from Funchal Cristiano Ronaldo Airport on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The aircraft, sporting a Ukrainian registration, was bound for the Kyiv Boryspil International Airport. It was reported that the aircraft's lessors were unhappy with it returning to Ukraine. As a result, UR-SQO diverted to Chisinau International Airport in the Moldovan capital where it remains today (February 15th) according to data from FlightRadar24.com.


    (Photo: Getty Images)

    SkyUp Flight Barred From Ukrainian Airspace Over Lessor's Concerns
  • Airlines canceling flights to Ukraine

    With Ukrainian airspace closing to civil aviation, all scheduled flights in and out of the country have been suspended. This list will be updated with airline statements on cancelations. 11:00 UTC 24/02/2022

    • Ryanair cancels flights to Ukraine

      A Ryanair spokesperson told Simple Flying,

      Due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace overnight, and the apparent invasion by Russian forces all Ryanair flights to/from Ukraine have been suspended for at least the next 14 days. All affected passengers will receive email notices later this morning and all flights to/from Ukraine have been removed from sale for at least next 4 weeks until further information becomes available from EU safety agencies.

      Ryanair remains committed to our services to/from Ukraine and we look forward to restoring flight services there as soon as it is safe to do so. 
      We sincerely regret and apologise for these unprecedented disruptions and any inconvenience that they will inevitably cause to our Ukrainian customers

    • Wizz Air cancels flights to Ukraine

      A Wizz Air spokesperson told Simple Flying,

      “Due to the current events in Ukraine and the airspace closure, Wizz Air regrets to inform our customers that the airline must temporarily suspend all flight operations in the country. Passengers with flights booked on arriving or departing Ukrainian flights can find more information on wizzair.com, or alternatively, via the airline’s call centre: 00380 893 202 532. The safety and security of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority and we hope normality will to return to Ukraine soon." 

    • airBaltic cancels flights to Ukraine

      An airBaltic spokesperson told Simple Flying,

      Latvian airline airBaltic announces that due to airspace closure for civil aviation all its flights to and from Ukraine are cancelled from February 24, 2022 until March 13, 2022 included.

       

      The safety of our passengers and employees is the main priority of airBaltic. airBaltic is evaluating the current situation before each flight and following the recommendations issued by official authorities. airBaltic is flexible and ready to adjust its flight schedule if necessary.

       

      We invite all affected passengers to check their booking on our webpage for a refund or by calling at +371 67280422 for a rebooking on an available flight after March 13. We recommend everyone to organize your own transportation to leave Ukraine as fast as possible via land transport. If you have difficulties leaving the country, please contact your respective embassy.

       

      • airBaltic Kyiv flight returns to Riga

        At 13:04 airBaltic flight BT402 departed from Riga Airport (RIX) bound for Kyiv. The aircraft climbed to 28,000 feet before making a U-turn and returning to Riga. It touched back down where it started around 30 minutes after departure. airBaltic told Simple Flying that the flight returned to Riga for technical reasons. The airline noted that it is still flying to Kyiv, and a replacement aircraft should operate the flight soon. As noted later in this article, the airline had been due to fly additional rotations to Kyiv to cope with increased demand.

        BT402

        (Photo: FlightRadar24.com)

        • airBaltic halts overnight stops in Ukraine

          While airBaltic has continued flights to Ukraine for the time being, it will be retiring some flights to ensure that its Airbus A220s don't spend the night on the ground in the country. The idea is that the crew would remain with the aircraft during a turnaround, able to leave the country quickly if the situation drastically deteriorates. If they were staying in a hotel overnight, such a fast reaction would not be possible.

          airBaltic Halts Overnight Aircraft Stops In Ukraine As Tensions Rise
    • Air France flight from Paris canceled

      Air France flight AF1752 from Paris to Kyiv was canceled today (February 22nd). At this point in time, there has been no confirmation from Air France that the route has been suspended. Simple Flying has approached the airline for comment.

    • SAS Suspends Flights To Kyiv

      SAS has canceled today's (Tuesday, February 22nd) rotation to Kyiv from Oslo. The airline is avoiding Ukrainian airspace until at least Sunday. A decision is yet to be taken on whether next week's flight will be canceled. An SAS spokesperson told Simple Flying,

      "Due to the situation between Russia and Ukraine, and the possible impact on airports and airspace, SAS Sunday decided to cancel SK4298 / SK4299 on Tuesday 22 February between Oslo and Kiev/Kyiv. This weekly route is currently SAS's only flight to Ukraine. The risk assessment also includes avoiding Ukraine's airspace until 27 February. SAS makes ongoing assessments of the situation, and will make a decision on the flight on Tuesday 1 March at a later date."

       

    • Lufthansa Group suspends flights to Ukraine

      Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, and SWISS have all suspended flights to and from Ukraine as of today (Monday, February 21st). Flights will provisionally be suspended until February 28th at the earliest, though this date could be pushed back depending on the evolution of the situation.

      Lufthansa & Austrian Suspend Ukraine Flights From Monday
    • No flydubai flights to Kyiv?

      flydubai has also seemingly canceled flights to Kyiv's Boryspil Airport (KBP). Both of the carrier's services to the city today have been canceled. Both services yesterday operated as planned, and both services tomorrow are still listed as "scheduled".

      A flydubai spokesperson told Simple Flying,

      "flydubai flights between Dubai and Ukraine have been temporarily suspended on 16 February.  We are monitoring the situation and we will revise our plans in line with the directives from the authorities. We will be in touch with the passengers regarding their refund and rebooking options."

      flydubai cancelations


      flydubai appears to have resumed flights to Ukraine since.

    • Vueling cancels Ukraine flights

      Following a request from Simple Flying, Vueling revealed that it has canceled flights from Paris Orly to Kyiv for the foreseeable future. The canceled flights are,

      image002


      (Photo: Vueling)

    • KLM cancels flights to Ukraine

      KLM became the first airline to outright cancel flights to Ukraine following the growing tension in the region. The airline revealed its decision on Saturday (February 12th). KLM said that the decision to stop flying to the country “follows the adjusted travel advice to code red and an extensive safety analysis.”

      KLM Suspends Ukraine Flights Over Security Concerns
      • KLM stops crew overnighting in Kyiv

        Around two weeks before it suspended flights to Ukraine, KLM had already amended its flight schedule to the country in light of the escalating tensions. On January 29th, Simple Flying reported that the airline had stopped its crew from overnighting in the country's capital city. Other airlines have since followed KLM's lead.

        KLM Will Not Allow Crew To Stay Overnight In Kyiv Amid Political Unrest
  • Airlines adding flights to Ukraine

    Many foreign governments have advocated for their citizens to leave Ukraine given the current situation. This has created a surge in demand for flights out of the country, compounded by the fact that some airlines have stopped flying into Ukraine.

    • Wizz Air Offers Free Seats And Rescue Fares Amid Ukraine Crisis

      Low-cost carrier, Wizz Air, has announced that it will be helping Ukrainian refugees by offering 100,000 free and subsidized seats to get to their final destinations. Refugees departing from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania can access free short-haul flights within Europe. Anticipating high demand, the airline has added larger planes and extra flights to support the movements of refugees as necessary.

      wizz-air-a321-2_603c8bdf (Photo: Wizz Air)

      Wizz Air Offers Free Seats And Rescue Fares Amid Ukraine Crisis
    • India makes plans for evacuation flights

      The Indian government is in talks with airlines to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine should the situation in the country further deteriorate. The Indian embassy in Kyiv advised its nationals to consider temporarily leaving the country if their stay is not essential.

      India Making Plans To Evacuate Citizens From Ukraine By Air
    • airBaltic adds Kyiv flights

      One of the airlines that is seeing increased demand for flights out of Ukraine is airBaltic. The airline has added an additional flight from Kyiv to Riga on February 15th and 16th. Each A220-300 flight seats 145 passengers. Additional non-stop flights are also planned to Vilnius, Lithuania on February 15th, February 17th, and February 19th.

      airBaltic Adds Extra Kyiv Flights As Other Airlines Cancel Services
    • Israeli airlines add Ukraine evacuation flights

      Israeli airlines have also been adding additional flights to Ukraine. After Israel's Foreign Minister told citizens to leave Israel before things get complicated, airlines such as El Al, Arkia, and Israir have added 32 flights between them. The airlines are prepared to add more flights if necessary, although plans are also being made to complete such an evacuation if Ukraine's airspace closes.

      Arkia Getty Images Israel


      (Photo: Getty Images)

      Israeli Carriers Lay On Ukraine Flights To Support Evacuation
  • Russian Airlines Are Banned From The Baltic Region
This article covers a developing story. Continue to check back with us as we will be adding more information as it becomes available.
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