The United States has joined the European Union and Canada to ban Russian aircraft from making flights to the United States or from traveling over the U.S. on its way to other destinations.
The ban announced Tuesday night by President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address to Congress would prohibit passenger or private planes that are owned or registered by Russians from flying over the U.S., hampering the ability to travel, especially for the wealthy. But the ban would have limited impact because Russian aircraft don't have to fly over the U.S. to get to other destinations.
No U.S. airlines fly to Russia, but European airlines fly over Russia more often than their U.S. counterparts. If Russia responds by prohibiting U.S. flights over its territory, it would cause longer and more costly flights for cargo carriers. FedEx and UPS both fly over Russia and announced this weekend that they were suspending deliveries to that country. Russia also gets a sizable amount of money from fees that it levies to use its airspace or land at its airports.
Closing U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft followed moves by the European Union and Canada earlier this week.
On Sunday, the EU banned all travel from Russian planes over its airspace in response to the Russia and Ukraine conflict. That ban applied to "any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person" and included any aircraft privately owned by a Russian oligarch, officials said.
When Canada announced its ban, Aeroflot, Russia's national airline and the only Russian airline that flies between that country and the U.S., announced on Monday that it had suspended flights to New York, Washington, DC, Miami and Los Angeles through Wednesday. The airline had 55 flights scheduled into the U.S. for this month.
American Airlines, which had used Russian airspace en route to India, started rerouting flights before the conflict began. United Airlines said on Tuesday that it had temporarily stopped flights to India and will avoid Russian airspace