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Ukraine: Air travel disrupted as Wizz Air, Ryanair, others cancel flights

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MANY commercial flights scheduled to arrive in Ukraine from Lithuania, Turkey, Qatar and Poland have been cancelled.

The ICIR had reported that the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has banned all Russian aircraft from America’s airspace, less than 72 hours after announcing the embargo on the Russian international reserve.

The United Kingdom Prime Minister,  Boris Johnson, had on Tuesday said the United Kingdom cannot impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Johnson, in a press conference in Warsaw, said it would lead to a direct military confrontation with Russia and the consequences would be very difficult to control.

Meanwhile, Russia’s attack on Ukraine stretched into its sixth day on Tuesday as a massive armoured convoy advanced towards the capital, Kyiv, and major cities were hit by heavier shelling.

Ukraine Russia conflict
A photo showing the aftermath of the airstrike on a government building in Kharkiv on Tuesday. Source: Twitter.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, videos captured an explosion at the regional state administration building that left at least six people, including one child, injured.

Flights cancellations on Wizz Air, Ryanair, others

Checks on Tuesday by The ICIR on Flightradar24, a global flight tracking service showed commercial operators like Turkish Airlines, Ryanair, Qatar Airways, Aeroflot and Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) cancelling flights to land in Ukraine airports.

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Some of these airlines, including, Aeroflot, refused to depart to Russia, as more airlines from Poland joined in rejecting flights to Ukraine.

Ukraine- Russia war effects on flights
Some of the cancelled flights at Odesa International Airport. Source: Joseph Olaoluwa_FlightRadar24

A 9:25 am, a TK1473 Turkish Airlines 73J flight from Istanbul expected to arrive at the Kharkiv International Airport was cancelled.

Another 4:05 pm Wizz Air 32Q flight from Krakow in Poland refused to fly to the same airport.

On the side of departures, a 10:20 am TK1474 Turkish Airlines flight scheduled for Istanbul never took off.

A 9:10 am flight on Wizz Air32Q expected to arrive from Warsaw in Poland was also cancelled at the Kyiv Zhuliany Airport.

Similarly, a 8:20 am UIA flight from Chișinău, the capital of Eastern Europe’s Republic of Moldova that was to land at the Kyiv Boryspil International Airport was also cancelled. All other flights departing that airport were cancelled, with only one scheduled.

At the Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport, two 8:50 am flights from Poland and Turkey on Ryanair and Turkish Airlines were cancelled.

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At the Odesa International Airport, the situation was the same with flights from Poland, Turkey and Qatar cancelled at 9 am, 9:35 am and 12:45 pm respectively.

Ukraine- Russia war effects on flights
Today’s cancelled flights at Simferopol International Airport. Source: Joseph Olaoluwa_FlightRadar24

 

 

At the Simferopol International Airport, a 12:40 pm flight from Moscow via Ural Airlines was cancelled.

In addition, all Russian flights bound for Moscow from the Ukraine airport (over five flights), on Aeroflot and Smartavia were cancelled from 12:40 pm till nightfall.

Foreign airlines in dire straits

Ch-aviation, a website invested in the database of airlines across the world, noted that budget carriers like Wizz Air, Ryanair and a few others announced a temporary suspension of all flight operations to/from Ukraine due to the closure of its airspace following the Russian attack.

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Wizz Air confirmed to ch-aviation that four of its A320-200s planes were trapped in Ukraine following the closure of the country’s airspace to all civilian flights following the Russian invasion.

 

Wizz Air airplane in flight
Wizz Air airplane in flight. Credit: Travel Daily

Drawing from Flightradar24 ADS-B data, three Wizz Air A320-200s are stuck at Kyiv Igor Sikorsky. They are HA-LWY (msn 6058), which had arrived on February 23 from Milan Malpensa (Italy); HA-LPJ (msn 3127) from Hamburg Helmut Schmidt (Germany); and HA-LPM (msn 3177) from Budapest (Hungary). Another A320-200, HA-LWS (msn 5608), is grounded at Lviv, ch-aviation reported.

Similarly, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) confirmed it would extend the suspension of scheduled and charter services until 23:59 March 23, 2022, Kyiv time.

The airline stopped flying on February 24 following the Russian invasion that targeted airport infrastructure.

Ryanair
Ryanair. Credit: Euronews

Ryanair, in a notice on flight cancellation on February 24, suspended flights to and fro Ukraine for 14 days. The post on Twitter said Ukraine cannot be booked until a four-week period was over. Nonetheless, an Ukrainian woman living in Ireland begged Ryanair to keep its fares low after it hiked the ticket prices she booked for her fleeing family.

“They are in Irpin, which is Kyiv region, where already there were three attacks – everyday big attacks. They are really bad. I just talked to them and they said, ‘We are waiting for death’ “, she told news talk.

Federal Government to evacuate Nigerians on Wednesday, as Russia bans 36 airlines 

Meanwhile, chartered flights will depart neighbouring countries surrounding Ukraine today, March 2, to pick up Nigerian evacuees who have opted to return home, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement.

The number of evacuees so far received by Nigerian embassies has risen to 2,090 – Hungary (650 persons), Poland, (350 persons), Romania (940 persons) and Slovakia (150 persons).

“The capacity and route of the airlines are as follows: Max Air to Romania (560 persons), Air Peace to Poland (364 persons) and Air Peace to Hungary (360 persons),” the statement said, making a total of 1,334 evacuees expected to arrive Nigeria on Thursday, March 3.

Nigerians evacuees in Ukraine. Source: Twitter

So far, Russia’s aviation authority has banned 36 countries from utilising its large airspace.

The move will sharply reduce the viability of many long-haul routes to Asia out of Europe, just like European countries’ bans on Russian airlines using their own respective airspaces had hurt Russia’s airlines.

The list includes Albania, Anguilla, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland, Faroe Islands, Territorial Seas), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Hungary, Jersey, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

USA Today has explained that the ban on airspaces would force airlines to re-route some flights, adding flight time and increasing fuel costs.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org

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