Politics & International Studies

As the curtain descends on flights

As the curtain descends on flights

Sanctions on Russian flights will impact the economies of the western nations as much as it will hurt Russia and facilitate the dominance of Asian flight operators from China, say the authors.


Abhiroop Chowdhury, Professor, Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.

Armin Rosencranz, Professor, Jindal School of Environment & Sustainability, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


‘There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,” Vladimir Lenin had once observed. This holds true for the recent Russia-Ukraine war.

The invasion of Ukrraine by Russia on 24 February, 2022 has shifted global politics. It has brought ‘war’ to Eastern Europe for the first time since 1945. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seems to have reignited the cold war.

The West has imposed strict sanctions on Russia. A total of 33 countries including the US, Canada and members of the European Union have closed their air space to Russian flights.

Switzerland, a nation known for its neutrality in world politics, agreed to join the air ban on Russian flights. In response, Russia has closed its air space to Canadian, American and and EU-based airlines. This closure of air space has altered air navigation across the globe overnight.

Russian space is vital for trans-Asiatic and Atlantic flights. On 1 March 2022, a United Airlines flight from New York City to New Delhi needed to take a long detour through the North Atlantic Ocean, Europe and the Middle East before entering India. Similarly, European airlines are impacted by the changes in flight paths.

A Finair flight is now taking around 9 hours to reach New Delhi from Helsinki, by avoiding the Russian air space. It used to complete the same journey within 6 hours and 15 minutes before the air space closures.

This increased time of journey also translates into more fuel consumption by the aircraft and more emissions of CO2.

Published in: The Statesman

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