FAA Restricts US Airlines From Flying Over Ukraine, Belarus, and Parts of Russia

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
February 24, 2022Updated: February 24, 2022

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it’s restricting U.S. airlines and pilots from flying over Ukraine and nearby Belarus.

The FAA, which had already restricted flights over eastern Ukraine, issued Notices to Air Missions that now cover the entire country of Ukraine, all of Belarus, and western Russia.

“These restrictions do not apply to military operations,” the agency said in a Feb. 24 statement to media outlets.

However, the restrictions do apply to civilian and cargo flights.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a similar notice, with a larger buffer added along the Russia–Ukraine border.

“This extension reflects the operational reality and takes account of the assessed risk posed by the threat of missile launches to and from Ukraine,” EASA said in a statement.

The notices come after the Russian Ministry of Defense told Ukraine that there was a high risk to flight safety of aircraft because of the war that has been launched, according to the European agency. It also comes after Ukrainian authorities restricted flights because of potential hazards from the war.

Ryan Petersen, CEO of the freight company Flexport, said the notices would lead to “extensive delays and potential cancellations as [airlines] grapple with this new reality of airspace.”

Flexport’s freighter service from Hong Kong to Maastrict, Netherlands, was delayed by several hours because the flight was shifted to the Middle East to avoid flying over Russia, Peterson wrote on Twitter.

A map from the tracking website Flightradar24 showed no flights over Ukraine and few over Belarus, which is north of Ukraine, or Moldova, which is located south of Ukraine.

“The situation is that the flight to Moldova was canceled. That’s it, now we are not flying anywhere. Now we have to go back,” a Russian woman told Russia Today at an airport in Moscow.

Russia started launching missiles into Ukraine this week and started moving forces into the country early on Feb. 24, under orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The fighting has caused dozens of casualties.

In other flight-related developments, UK Transport Secretary of State Grant Shapps signed restrictions barring all Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or landing inside the country.

“Putin’s heinous actions will not be ignored, and we will never tolerate those who put people’s lives in danger,” Shapps said in a statement.

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