The U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA have issued orders blocking Russian aircraft and airlines from entering and using U.S. domestic airspace. The ban has been issued via a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) (PDF) and regulatory orders (PDF) which will suspend operations of “all aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of, a person who is a citizen of Russia.” Both are scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday.
The move, which was announced during President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, comes in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. As previously reported by AVweb, Canada and many European nations closed their airspace to Russian aircraft over the weekend. As of Monday, Russia had banned aircraft from 36 countries including the U.K., Canada and all 27 European Union member states from its airspace.
“The United States stands with our allies and partners across the world in responding to Putin’s unprovoked aggression against the people of Ukraine,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Certainly an important move to make for our leadership, but I do wonder about the embodiment/enforcement of it. Air Traffic Control can identify a flight plan that originates in Russia, or a Russian registration number easily enough. But identifying any airplane that is being operated “for the benefit of a Russian citizen” is a little harder to do in the operational airspace day to day.
If proper paperwork is filed with customs for an airplane without US registration for an overflight of the US, that is how the “benefit of a Russian citizen “ would be enforced. Customs can and have diverted airplanes due to improper paperwork or for someone on the no-fly list.
Okay, but there’s no reason that a Russian person couldn’t own a French charter service, for example. Or for that matter, even a domestic US operation such as a flight school.
I’m sure those tickets on Russian airliners were selling like hotcakes.