(DailyExpertNews) — Ukraine’s airspace is currently closed in the wake of the Russian invasion. Countries including the US and UK have advised their citizens to leave Ukraine.
Here’s what we know about the impact of post-conflict travel in Eastern Europe.
Can I still fly to Eastern Europe?
Air traffic is still moving outside the hard-hit areas. Ukraine borders not only Russia, but also Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova, as the map above illustrates.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, known as EASA, said “operators should exercise extreme caution” and avoid using airspace within 100 nautical miles of the border between Russia and Ukraine.
There are no warnings from the UK or US government against traveling to border countries with Ukraine – or other Eastern European destinations – because of the Russian conflict.
Florida-based travel consultant Gwen Kozlowski, a travel specialist to Central Europe and the president of travel agency Exeter International, told DailyExpertNews Travel on Feb. 24 that her agency has inquiries from travelers with upcoming trips to Poland, but no cancellations so far.
My flight would fly over Ukrainian airspace. Will it be redirected?
This image from Aircraft Tracker’s ADS-B Exchange, taken at 11:15 a.m. ET on Feb. 24, shows empty skies over Ukraine and the border with Russia.
If you are flying on a route that would normally traverse the currently blocked airspace, the airline will reroute the flight.
“IATA is helping to facilitate relevant and timely exchange of information with airlines from both governmental and non-governmental sources to support airlines in planning their operations around airspace closures in Ukraine and parts of Russia.”
Can I still travel to Russia?
The UK also banned Russian civilian aircraft from its airspace and over its territorial sea from February 24 to May 23. Russian airline Aeroflot currently operates direct flights between Moscow and London-Heathrow and Gatwick, according to its website.
“Most of our Russian travelers seem to be taking a wait and see approach at the moment, but of course this could change based on how events unfold,” travel agent Kozlowski told DailyExpertNews Travel via email.
How long is travel affected?
The situation in Ukraine is moving fast. It is unclear how long the airspace over Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus or Russia will be affected.
According to the UK government’s travel advice, there are currently restrictions on domestic flights in Russia until March 2.
Top image: A passenger exits Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Image credit: Maksim Blinov/Sputnik/AP
DailyExpertNews’s Pete Muntean contributed to this report