The US Transportation Department is proposing a ban on Chinese airlines’ use of Russian airspace to fly passengers to the US, three officials from the administration of President Joe Biden told New York Times, reported Russia Today.
The national security team and others were reportedly given an order last Monday requiring Chinese rivals to adhere to the same restrictions faced by US carriers. The idea is the result of lobbying by US airlines, who lose up to $2 billion in market share yearly to foreign rivals who are not restricted from overflying Russian territory, according to industry trade group Airlines for America.
The group has requested that the Biden administration “take action to ensure that international carriers overflying Russia do not depart, land, or transit through US airports,” according to a spokeswoman for the organisation.
Airlines with home nations that are not involved in the conflict in Ukraine, such as China Eastern, Emirates, and Air India, have seen a spike in revenue because they can fly the shortest route without having to go around Russia’s extensive territory.
American carriers, on the other hand, have had to conduct long-haul flights with dozens of vacant seats in the aim of making the jet light enough to avoid refuelling on the more circuitous routes required to circumvent no-go zones, according to airline sources quoted by Russia Today.
US carriers were forced to abandon plans to provide direct services to more than a dozen hotspots like Tokyo, Seoul, and Mumbai in favour of competitors after being denied access to the most direct routes to Asia.
According to Russia Today, Airlines for America has made an effort to persuade passengers who object to forking over the extra cash and time in the air that flying over Russia is genuinely risky. The lobbying group cites the downing of MH17 in Ukraine in 2014 and Brittney Griner’s arrest in a Moscow airport last year as examples.
Foreigners caught with illegal drugs face significantly harsher penalties in many supposedly “safe” nations, including execution by firing squad.
The Dutch team, meanwhile tasked with proving Russia’s involvement in the MH17 catastrophe terminated its probe last month after failing to turn up any solid proof.
The jet was allegedly shot down by a BUK missile developed in Russia, according to a court in the same nation last year, which said there was “no possibility for reasonable doubt whatsoever.”
Following Washington’s own ban on Russian aircraft flying over American territory, Moscow blocked its airspace to US airlines in March of last year, Russia Today reported.