Canada closes airspace to Russian aircraft, Aeroflot found to be in violation

Canada closes airspace to Russian aircraft, Aeroflot found to be in violation

OTTAWA — The Government of Canada has acted swiftly in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, closing Canada’s airspace to all Russian aircraft.

The announcement was made Feb. 27 by Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly. Effective immediately, all Russian-owned, chartered or operated aircraft are prohibited in Canadian airspace, including in the airspace above Canada’s territorial waters.

Russia launched a large-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on Feb. 24, in what is widely regarded as the largest conventional warfare operation in Europe since World World II.

“All of Canada is united in its outrage of President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine,” said Minister Alghabra. “In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft. The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine.”

Minister Joly added: “Canada will continue to do everything it can against the Russian regime’s aggression. We are united with our allies in our unwavering support to Ukraine and are working to bring this unprovoked war to an end.”

According to Transport Canada, Russian airline Aeroflot violated the ban on Sunday, Feb. 27, the same day the restriction was imposed.

Though there are no direct flights between Russia and Canada, several Russian flights a day had until now passed through Canadian airspace to other countries, a spokesperson for Minister Alghabra said.

Aeroflot flight 111 travelled from Miami, Florida to Moscow and took off at 15:12 ET, according to FlightRadar24.

Transport Canada said it will launch a review into the conduct of Aeroflot and Canada’s air-traffic control service provider Nav Canada following the violation.

“We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations,” said Transport Canada.

Nav Canada confirmed to Reuters that Aeroflot did enter Canadian airspace, and that the flight in question was a humanitarian flight, which requires special handling by air traffic control under normal circumstances.


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