On March 1, President Biden announced the closure of US airspace to all Russian flights. According to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), the restrictions are scheduled to be fully effective by the end of today, March 2, 2022. The restrictions will be implemented in two ways. First, the Federal Aviation Administration will issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that will prohibit Russian airlines and operators from using US airspace. As of the publication of this post, the NOTAM has not yet been issued, but is anticipated to be issued today.
Second, the USDOT has issued a Notice and Order, effective immediately, suspending “the existing, proposed, and prospective scheduled passenger and all-cargo operations of all foreign air carriers of the Russian Federation (Russia) to and/or from the United States.” The order also suspends the authority of all Russian foreign civil aircraft operators to navigate in the United States. The order contains provisions for carriers already inflight en route until 21:00 EST on March 2, 2022, and for operators to request permission for non-revenue ferry operations necessary for aircraft to depart the United States. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The far-reaching orders will apply broadly to any aircraft with a nexus to Russia (e.g. aircraft owned, registered, operated by, leased, or controlled for the benefit of a Russian person or entity). This includes private, charter, cargo, and scheduled flights. Russia is anticipated to issue a reciprocal flight ban in short order, as it has done following similar restrictions by Canada and EU aviation authorities. To date, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) has banned aircraft from 36 countries, including 27 EU countries, Albania, Canada, Iceland, Norway, and the UK, from flying over Russian territories. While US carriers do not operate scheduled flights between the US and Russia, they frequently use Russian airspace as a corridor for long-haul flights between North America and points in Asia.