With a Russian military invasion looming, air travel to and over Ukraine is being drastically curtailed. The Conflict Zone & Risk Database published by Safe Airspace has issued a Level 2 risk alert of “danger exists.”
This level is just behind Level 1, a warning of “don’t fly.”
News agency Interfax Ukraine reported that Ukrainian insurance companies had received a notification from reinsurers that airlines were not covered for war risks.
Therefore, beginning Monday, February 14, many insurance companies are no longer providing coverage for Ukrainian airspace or airports, prompting some airlines to suspend their Ukraine air routes.
According to Carrier Management, KLM stopped all its flights to Ukraine and Lufthansa said it was considering a suspension. On Saturday, a charter flight returning to Kyiv diverted to Moldova after an Irish group withdrew its insurance.
Additionally, according to Reuters monitoring of flight tracking service FlightRadar24, British Airways (BA) flights between London and Asia on Monday appeared to be avoiding the airspace.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not issued a blanket ban on flying to or over Ukraine but it has banned American airline carriers from overflying the eastern part of the Dnipro Flight Information Region (FIR).
The FAA also warns them to exercise extreme caution within 100 nautical miles (185km) of the Russian border. Other countries have also issued airspace warnings for eastern Ukraine.
While Ukraine controls this FIR under internationally-recognized codes, Russia claims this airspace and has published its own Notice to Air Missions (Notams) warning of danger areas and imposing airspace restrictions over parts of the Black Sea adjacent to Crimea.
These Russian Notams are to be in effect between February 14-19 during its announced ‘military exercises.’
However, others see the threat to security as exaggerated, with airBaltic adding additional services to the Ukrainian capital. The Ukrainian government has vowed to keep its airspace open despite the growing hostilities.
Still, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) announced it has moved five of its Boeing 737s to Spain after insurance for those planes was withdrawn. Two other UIA planes have been sent to Serbia for scheduled maintenance.