Ukraine Flag
Graphic ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is Affecting Travel February 28 2022

This conflict makes no cents.

Since this article was posted yesterday, several new developments have occurred in travel as a result of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia — starting with the Russian ruble significantly losing its value as it plummeted to a new record low exchange rate against the United States dollar as well as other currencies around the world.

How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is Affecting Travel February 28 2022

Coins penny dime nickel
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Additionally, a number of countries and territories have been banned by the government of Russia from using its airspace — including:

  • Albania
  • Anguilla — which is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark — including Greenland and the Faroe Islands
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

As a result, a number of airlines have had to either cancel flight routes — or extend the duration of their time.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

“Due to the closure of Russian airspace, we are evaluating alternative routings for some of our flights to Japan, Korea and China. So far, we have cancelled flights to these destinations until 6 March 2022, and cancelled all flights to Russia until 28 May 2022”, according to this statement which was posted at the official Internet web site of Finnair. “We will communicate on further cancellations of our flights to Japan, China and Korea starting from the end of this week, once the routing plans have been finalised.”

The flag carrier of Finland will continue flying airplanes from Helsinki to Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, and Delhi; and from Stockholm Arlanda to Phuket — but the avoidance of using the airspace over Russia will increase the travel time of those flights by approximately one hour.

“Air France is maintaining its routes to China, South Korea and Japan by adapting its flight plans. Its flight schedule to and from Asia is up to date until 2 March 2022”, according to this statement which was posted at the official Internet web site of the flag carrier of France.

Flight routes to and from China, South Korea, and Japan — as well as to and from Kyiv, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg — have been temporarily suspended by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which is the flag carrier of the Netherlands.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

At the time this article was written, a number of official Internet web sites of Russia and its government were either down or inaccessible.

“There are other travel avenues that are affected by this war”, according to this comment which was posted by DaninMCI, who is a reader of The Gate. “Cruise ships are canceling ports of call and cruises to St. Petersburg (which is a popular destination) have been canceled. The US State Department travel advisories aren’t up to date and still just show everything red due to covid but travel to Poland, Romania, and Finland is not advised. Turkey has closed the Dardenelles and Bosphorus, per the 1936 Montreux convention agreements, to Russian and Ukrainian ships. Train traffic in Eastern Europe is disrupted in places and borders are becoming more strict including restrictions on males leaving Ukraine as refugees while males are being admitted into Ukraine with proper documents. It’s a very dynamic situation somewhat more like WW1 than WW2 in some ways. Look for signs in China, Syria, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan and Belarus for possible expansion of hostilities.”

Reports have been circulating from multiple media sources that Belarus is joining forces with Russia against Ukraine — but those reports have yet to be confirmed at the time this article was written. The airspace over that country — as well as that over Moldova — was reportedly closed to commercial air traffic.

How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is Affecting Travel February 27 2022

The airspace over Ukraine was closed to commercial air traffic due to the invasion of armed forces from Russia, which occurred on the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2022. Airlines scrambled to adapt and alter any routes which flew over the country.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States issued an official notice pertaining to the crisis in Ukraine — which includes recommended areas of land border crossings to neighboring countries — and the Treasury Department of the United States issued links to brochures pertaining to sanctions, frequently asked questions, and other important information against Russia.

Also, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States issued this official notice which prohibits all commercial operators and air carriers which are based in the United States from flying at any altitude over Lviv, Kyiv, Dnipro, Simferopol, and Odesa effective immediately.

An official statement is currently at the official Internet web site of Ukraine International Airlines which effectively informs that the operation of transporting passengers has been discontinued until further notice for safety reasons.

Aeroflot airplane
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Effective as of Friday, February 25, 2022, Delta Air Lines withdrew its codeshare services operated in conjunction with Aeroflot, which is the national airline of Russia. “We have removed our code from Aeroflot-operated services beyond Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and removed Aeroflot’s code from Delta-operated services from Los Angeles and New York-JFK”, according to this official statement from Delta Air Lines, which currently does not operate any services to Ukraine or Russia. “Accommodations will be made for customers affected by these changes.”

Meanwhile, all flights which are operated by Aeroflot to destinations within Europe will be canceled until further notice after the decision by many countries to close their airspace in protest of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Aeroflot is still currently a member of the SkyTeam alliance at the time this article was written, with no indication of any boycott of the airline by the alliance itself.

Sanctions against banks in Russia have been imposed with regard to SWIFT — whose formal name is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is a cooperative society that is owned by its members; is based in Belgium; and provides services related to the execution of financial transactions and payments between banks worldwide. The main purpose of the sanctions is to restrict the flow of money to Russia in an attempt to financially starve the military incursion into Ukraine — but some unwanted side effects may also be felt, as posted via the official Twitter account of Raf Sanchez, who is a foreign correspondent for NBC News: “My hotel in Moscow asked me to settle the bill early because they aren’t sure if credit cards are going to work once SWIFT sanctions kick in.”

The European Union has announced its solidarity with Ukraine and its people via a number of initiatives — including adopting further restrictive measures “which will have massive and severe consequences for Russia” in response to the aggressive invasion.

For example, Ursula von der Leyen — who is the current president of the European Commission — proposed a set of new measures to leaders in the European Union to strengthen its response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia while simultaneously crippling the ability of the current president of Russia to “finance his war machine.”

The European leaders agreed on a package of massive and targeted sanctions against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which includes — but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Financial sanctions, targeting 70 percent of the banking market and key state owned companies of Russia — including in defense
  • Targeting the energy sector — which is a key economic area that especially benefits Russia — with European export ban that will hit the oil sector by making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries
  • Banning the sale of aircrafts and equipment to Russian airlines
  • Limiting Russia’s access to crucial technology — such as semiconductors or cutting-edge software
  • Restricting access to the European Union for Russian diplomats and related groups and business people

“For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack”, according to the latest statement attributed to Ursula von der Leyen which was released earlier today, Sunday, February 27, 2022. “This is a watershed moment.”

The airspace over the entire European Union has been shut down and closed off to aircraft which is either owned, controlled, or registered by Russia or Russians, as they will not be able to land in, take off, or fly over any of the territories of the member countries.

Final Boarding Call

That travel is not the utmost issue on the minds of the people of Ukraine would be stating the obvious; and that the shock and dismay of people around the world at the military invasion of that country by Russia is an understatement — but travel is among the repercussions of the conflict which have been reverberating globally in various forms…

Graphic ©2022 by Brian Cohen; and photographs ©2017, ©2018, and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!