An aviation expert warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could impact international air travel, including trip duration and costs. Since the attack, Russia has closed its airspace to the EU, Canada, and the U.S. In response, the U.S. and some of its allies banned Russian flights from entering their airspace as well.
The closure of Russian airspace has blocked routes from Europe to Asia, prompting airlines to find alternative routes that might consume more time and fuel, and therefore potentially raising the prices of tickets for international flights.
“At today’s oil prices of around $100/bbl, this will translate into nearly $25,000 of additional expenditure for the airline round trip,” Umang Gupta, managing director at Alton Aviation Consultancy, told Axios.
This means that airlines might have to increase fares by over $120 for a round-trip ticket to cover the new additional costs. In taking alternative flight paths to avoid closed airspaces, U.S. airlines have been blocked from important flight routes that connect certain continents.
Gupta said that a typical flight from Europe to Asia would take about 12 hours to fly there and about 13 hours to return. However, more than two hours of flight time will be added in each direction, which Gupta called “a best-case scenario.”
He also said that flights will burn over 20 percent more fuel in a round trip. This is in the case of the most fuel-efficient wide-body flights that are used in those trips such as Boeing 787-9 or Airbus A350-900.
“Several U.S. carriers also use Russian airspace to fly to Asia and will have to look for alternative longer routes, or perhaps even consider ‘tech stops’ to refuel, reduce passenger capacity or cargo on board,” he added.
Airlines are already having to pivot now that the airspace closure is in full effect. United Airlines recently changed its route for its flight from Chicago to Delhi, India, which added at least an hour to its journey and about two hours to its returning trip, according to FlightAware data. The airliner used to fly across Greenland and transit in Russia on its way back south.
While the aviation industry might be affected by the closure of airspaces, some airlines have been hit hard due to the invasion. Rosaviatsiya, Russia’s aviation agency, recommended on Saturday that all Russian airlines with foreign-leased planes should suspend passenger and cargo flights traveling internationally to avoid foreign governments from potentially seizing the planes as part of sanctions imposed on the country.
Consequently, Russian airline Aeroflot announced Saturday that it will halt all of its international flights, except those heading to Belarus, starting on March 8.
The suspension means that Aeroflot tickets for passengers who are scheduled to fly out of Russia after March 6 and set to return after March 8 will be canceled, the Associated Press reported, with Aeroflot saying in a statement that the decision was made due to “circumstances that hinder operating flights.”
Newsweek contacted Alton Aviation Consultancy for further information and comments and will update the story once a response is received.
The post Ukraine War Could Increase Some International Air Fare By Over $120 appeared first on Newsweek.