Alaska Airlines Suspending Russian Airline Partnership, Washington to Block Russian Planes From Airspace

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
March 2, 2022 Updated: March 2, 2022

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is pausing ties with a Russian airline, noting that it is “deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis” unfolding in Ukraine, as part of a concerted move by many companies around the world to isolate Russia for its initiation of war.

“We are temporarily suspending our partnership with the Russian airline S7, a fellow Oneworld member. Starting today, March 1, our guests will not be able to earn miles on S7. Our ongoing work to enable redemptions on S7 will also stop,” the airlines said in a statement. Oneworld is an airline alliance founded in Feb. 1999.

Alaska Airlines has also suspended the “limited interline relationships” with S7 and Aeroflot, the largest carrier in Russia. Interlining allows passengers of one airline to be ticketed on another alternate airline in cases like bad weather, etc.

Other major airlines based in the United States have also announced the suspension of services to Russia. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and courier company United Parcel Service (UPS) will no longer be flying over the Russian airspace. Washington has indicated that it will block Russian flights from its airspace.

“We will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights—further isolating Russia—and adding an additional squeeze—on their economy,” President Joe Biden said in the State of the Union address on March 1. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned American air carriers and pilots from flying over Ukraine, Belarus, and certain portions of Western Russia.

The European Union (EU), which already closed its airspace to Russian aircraft, has indicated that it was in discussions with the United States to extend the ban. The EU decision to ban all “Russian-owned, Russian registered, or Russian-controlled aircraft” was announced by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen on Feb. 27.

“These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off, or overfly the territory of the EU. This will apply to any plane owned, chartered, or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person. So let me be very clear. Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane—and that includes the private jets of oligarchs,” von der Leyen said.

Russia shut down its airspace to airlines from 36 nations, including the 27 member states of the European Union and the UK. London had earlier banned Aeroflot from UK airspace.

The airline bans announced by Russia, the EU, and the UK, as well as multiple airlines in the United States, can have a negative impact on cargo transport. Russian carriers account for roughly 70 percent of flights between the EU and Russia.

Airline companies that account for transporting around a fifth of the world’s air cargo are the ones affected by the flight bans, Frederic Horst, managing director of Cargo Facts Consulting, told Reuters.

Global supply chains were already hard hit by shipping port disruptions while air freight rates were elevated due to a lack of passengers amidst the pandemic. With flights getting banned, air cargo transport could turn more expensive while further complicating the supply chain crisis.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.