Flights between Europe and Asia rise despite Russia airspace ban

Airline capacity between western Europe and Asia has risen in the past two months despite many flights having to be rerouted to avoid Russian airspace.

EU and UK carriers have been banned from flying through Russia since the early days of the conflict, which started on 24 February, and has led to significantly longer flights on some routes between Europe and Asia.

Research from aviation data firm OAG found that there were seven per cent more scheduled airline seats between Europe and Asia in mid-April compared with the final week of February in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion.

OAG said some of this increase in capacity was due to the start of airlines’ summer schedules, as well as the reopening of Singapore to international travellers – British Airways, for example, has increased capacity between London Heathrow and Singapore by 75 per cent over this period.

Finnair has clearly been the most affected European airline with the Russian airspace ban adding three-and-a-half hours to its flights from Helsinki to Tokyo and Shanghai. Flights from Finland to South Korea have also been extended by two hours and 45 minutes.

Western European airlines are seeing much smaller increases in flight times to destinations in south and south-east Asia, such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangkok and Singapore, as a result of rerouting around Russian airspace.

“The British Airways flight, for instance, from Heathrow to Singapore has seen the scheduled time increase by 25 minutes, while the Air France flight to Delhi has had 30 minutes added,” said OAG.

“Overall, Finnair has reduced capacity between western Europe and Asia by 23 per cent, Air France by 5 per cent, and British Airways by 4 per cent, while Lufthansa has increased airline capacity by 46 per cent but this is largely the result of large increases between Germany and India.”

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