All western airlines and several others stopped utilizing Russia’s airspace once the country attacked Ukraine.
This has caused a massive headache for airlines, especially in Europe, that have used the trans-Siberian route to destinations in Asia. In addition, rerouting flights avoiding the Russian airspace has considerably increased flight time and made many destinations in Asia uneconomical for them to serve.
Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Cathay Pacific has decided to start routing flights to New York from Hong Kong, overflying Russia from November 1st. The airline claims that they do this because other airlines are doing it as well (Chinese?).
Excerpt from the Bloomberg:
It cited strong headwinds and payload issues affecting its flights from the east coast of North America, and said its aircraft will overfly the far eastern part of Russia.
“There are other major airlines overflying Russian airspace and there are no sanctions which prevent Cathay Pacific overflying Russia,” Cathay said in the statement to Bloomberg.
In an operational note to pilots dated Oct. 28, Cathay outlined the policy change for flights from North America to facilitate a “safe and more efficient operation” for its crew and customers, according to people familiar with the notice.
The Polar Route “allows the airline to maximize the number of passengers and checked baggage carried onboard,” Cathay said.
Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific has decided to start utilizing Russia’s airspace when most major carriers do not.
Perhaps western countries should indicate to Cathay Pacific that flights utilizing Russia’s airspace are not welcome to land at their airports. The same applies to Qatar Airways and Emirates, which happily fly over Russia per FlightAware.