American airlines, for which Russian airspace has been closed since 2022, are calling on the White House and the US Congress to impose a ban on such flights for foreign carriers. Thus, companies want to influence competitors flying the same routes, writes The New York Times (NYT), citing sources.
“They have changed plans for trans-Pacific flights to ensure they have somewhere to land in case of an emergency, reduced passenger and cargo numbers to keep costs down as they fly long distances, and suspended more than a dozen planned new routes to Mumbai, Tokyo, Seoul. and other cities,” the newspaper writes.
At the same time, many foreign companies are still allowed to fly over Russia, which is why the number of passengers on flights to the US from Asia and back is growing, the airlines say. In a February presentation to Congress, the Airlines for America group said that Air India, Emirates and China Eastern Airlines, among others, received an "unfair advantage", while US carriers estimate their annual losses at $ 2 billion.
US airlines demanded to solve the problem and impose the same restrictions on foreign carriers. Airlines for America stressed that the Biden administration must "take steps to ensure that foreign carriers flying over Russia do not take off, land, or transit through US airports."
According to NYT sources, the US Department of Transportation has prepared a draft order that prohibits Chinese carriers from flying through Russian airspace. The newspaper's interlocutors note that the Biden administration has the legal authority to eliminate complaints from American carriers. Foreign air carriers benefit from shorter flight times, lower costs, lower fuel consumption and all the benefits that are not available to US companies, the article says.
Bloomberg previously wrote that the closure of Russian airspace for US and EU airlines in response to similar sanctions by Western countries caused an increase in flight times to Asia, and also led to a significant increase in fuel costs. European carriers, such as Air France-KLM, when operating flights to Japan, have to fly around Russia through Kazakhstan and Mongolia, which adds several hours to the duration of flights. British Virgin Atlantic refused flights to Hong Kong in October, citing the closure of Russian airspace as one of the reasons for this decision. The duration of the French Air France flight from Paris to Tokyo has reached 14 hours.
The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation reported back in March 2022 that foreign airlines were forced to spend more than $37.5 million a week to bypass Russian airspace.