UAE airlines suspend services to Ukraine as it closes airspace to civilian flights

Flydubai, Air Arabia and Wizz Air have temporarily ceased travel to and from Kiev and Odessa

lights from the UAE to Ukraine are suspended.

Flydubai has cancelled flights from Dubai to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, and to the southern port city of Odessa owing to the continuing situation in the Eastern European country.

Wizz Air has also temporarily suspended flights from Abu Dhabi to its two destinations in Ukraine and Etihad Airways, which does not operate direct flights to Ukraine, is avoiding the country’s airspace on other routes.

Air Arabia has also suspended flights from Sharjah.

On Thursday, Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights, citing a high risk to safety. The country has instituted martial law after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation”, declaring the conflict in the country’s eastern Donbas region had reached a point of dramatic escalation.

Empty skies: Ukrainian airspace before and after Russian military operation

A screenshot made available by Flightradar24.com that shows the clear airspace over Ukraine on Thursday Feb. 24, 2022 not long after Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine.(Flightradar24.com via AP)

The Dubai airline has cancelled flights between the two destinations effective immediately.

“Flydubai flights between Dubai and Ukraine have been temporarily suspended until March 8. We will be in touch with our passengers regarding their refund and rebooking options,” a representative for the airline told The National.

From Abu Dhabi, low-cost airline Wizz Air flies to two locations in Kiev. These services are now suspended, with the airline citing that the safety of passengers and crew is a priority.

“Due to the current events in Ukraine and the airspace closure, Wizz Air regrets to inform our customers that the airline must temporarily suspend all flight operations in the country. Passengers with flights booked on arriving or departing Ukrainian flights can find more information on wizzair.com” said a representative for the airline.

“The safety and security of our passengers and crew remain our number one priority and we hope normality will return to Ukraine soon.”

From Sharjah, flights to Kiev with Air Arabia are also suspended.

“Given the current situation and due to airspace closure, Air Arabia will temporarily suspend its flights between Sharjah and Ukraine until further notice,” an Air Arabia representative confirmed.

Etihad has rerouted flights away from Ukraine as a precautionary measure. Photo: Etihad

Etihad Airways has rerouted flights away from the country as a precautionary measure. The national airline of the UAE does not operate direct flights to Ukraine, but is now avoiding the country’s airspace on other routes.

“Etihad continues to completely avoid Ukrainian airspace, and as a precautionary measure, has rerouted flights away from the border region to the east and north of Ukraine by a considerable distance. The safety and well-being of our guests is always Etihad’s highest priority,” an Etihad representative told The National.

“As this is an evolving situation, we continue to vigilantly monitor and assess emerging airspace restrictions and threats. Etihad will update guests of any changes to itineraries and flight schedules over the coming days, as we continue to prioritise the safety of our guests and staff.”

Emirates does not operate flights to Ukraine.

UAE airlines are the latest to cancel flights to Ukraine in recent days.

On Monday, Air France suspended flights as a “precautionary measure”.

German airline Lufthansa cancelled flights to Kiev and Odessa on Saturday, stating that the ban would be in place until the end of February.

Ukraine airspace closed

The Ukraine State Air Traffic Services Enterprise announced the country’s airspace was closed to civilian flights from 0045 GMT on Thursday.

Europe’s aviation regulator has also warned about the hazards of flying to the bordering areas of Russia and Belarus, because of military activities.

On Thursday, Russia also reportedly announced it is closing its airspace to civilian flights on its borders with Ukraine and Belarus.

India repatriation flight returns mid-air

An Air India repatriation flight to Kiev turned around mid-air after the announcement that Ukraine’s airspace was closed.

Flight number Al1947 from New Delhi was to have been the second of three special repatriation flights for Indians in Ukraine.

It had been in the air for two hours before airspace in Ukraine was closed, and turned around over Iran, according to flight-tracking website flightradar24.com.

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