Are flights to Russia from UK cancelled? Russian airspace ban explained - what to do if you had flights booked

The UK government announced a ban on all scheduled flights operated by Russian airlines from entering UK airspace yesterday

Russia has banned all UK flights from landing in the country, or entering Russian airspace.

The move by Russia’s civil aviation authority comes in retaliation to the UK’s ban on the Russian carrier Aeroflot, which was imposed in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine yesterday.

Russia has banned all UK flights from landing in the country and using its airspace (Photo: Getty Images)Russia has banned all UK flights from landing in the country and using its airspace (Photo: Getty Images)
Russia has banned all UK flights from landing in the country and using its airspace (Photo: Getty Images)

Aeroflot is an airline majority owned by the Russian state as part of the 10-point package of sanctions announced by the UK government, which included asset freezes and bans on Russian firms.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Thursday: “I’ve signed restrictions prohibiting all scheduled Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or touching down on British soil.

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

Is travel to Russia banned?

The Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya) has said all flights by UK carriers to Russia, as well as transit flights, are banned from the country from Friday (25 February).

It said it is acting in response to the “unfriendly decisions” made by the British authorities.

Due to the continuing risk the conflict poses to civil air travel, British Airways has decided to immediately cease flights to Russia and is now avoiding Russian airspace for overflights.

Luis Gallego, CEO of British Airways owner, IAG, said: "Following the UK government decision to ban Aeroflot from landing in the UK, we have taken the decision not to use Russian airspace for overflights.

"We are avoiding Russian airspace for the time being.

“The impact for us is not huge because right now we are only flying to a small number of destinations in Asia and we can reroute our flights."

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is advising against all but essential travel to:

  • Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai for security reasons.
  • within 20km of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk Oblasts and within 20km of the border with Ukraine in the Rostov, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk and Bryansk regions due to the build up of Russian forces and ongoing military exercises.
  • North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area)

People are also urged not to attempt to cross the border into Ukraine from Russia due to reports of widespread military activity in Ukraine.

Those who are in Russia are being warned that it may not be possible to fly directly to the UK and travel plans may need to be amended accordingly.

On 24 February the Russian authorities announced restrictions on domestic flights to several airports in southern Russia, with disruption to internal flights to and from Moscow and other cities.

These restrictions are set to be in place until 2 March 2022.

What should I do if my flight is cancelled?

If an airline cancels your flight, you are legally entitled to receive either a full refund on the price of your original booking, or to book a replacement flight.

According to EU Regulation 261/2004 (a law which the UK has kept since Brexit) if you request a refund, airlines must issue it in full no later than seven days after the scheduled flight.

If your trip has been cancelled and it was booked as a package holiday, the tour operator is responsible for getting your trip back on track or offering a full refund.

Customers shouldn’t need to claim on your travel insurance.

If an airline informed you about the cancellation at short notice, you might also be entitled to compensation.

The EU Regulation Nr. 261/2004 states that airlines should inform customers about cancellations at least 14 days prior to departure.

If the airline fails to notify you within this time frame, you could be entitled to €250 – €600 (per passenger) according to the distance of the flight.

Travellers should get in touch with the airline they booked with, or the tour operator, for advice and further information on what to do if flights have been cancelled.

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