Ukrainian Civil Airspace Closed Due to Russian Invasion
After a standoff spanning several weeks, Russian troops have reportedly begun invading Ukraine. Tensions are now higher than ever, and a war is underway.
Airlines have already been canceling flights to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv due to concerns of passenger safety, especially considering the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was shot down by Russian rebels in Ukraine. Now that the fighting has begun, civil airspace over the whole country of Ukraine has been closed.
Russian Airline Aeroflot Banned from Flying to UK
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has banned all flights by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot from flying in the country's airspace.
In a statement posted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Thursday, the country has restricted flights from Aeroflot by suspending its foreign carrier permit, reported Reuters.
"This means that Aeroflot will not be permitted to operate flights to or from the United Kingdom until further notice," the UK CAA said.
Virgin Atlantic Set to Resume US Routes
Virgin Atlantic said it will resume its “full portfolio” of pre-pandemic services to the US in March and April, including ramping up flying on routes that have already been restored.
In early March, the British long-haul specialist will relaunch flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Seattle (SEA) and Washington Dulles (IAD), completing its reinstatement of all pre-COVID-19-pandemic US destinations.
From March 2, LHR-SEA service will be operated 5X-weekly with a Boeing 787-9. From March 5, the carrier will operate LHR-IAD service 5X-weekly with an Airbus A330.
In addition to restoring pre-pandemic US destinations, Virgin Atlantic will launch its first new US route since 2015 when it commences 4X-weekly LHR-Austin (AUS), Texas, service from May 25.
Flight Attendants Union Asks for Face Mask Mandate Extension
With the national face mask mandate set to end in March 2022, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is asking for an extension to protect front line aviation workers.
The New York Times reports the group is asking The White House to keep the mandate in place indefinitely, claiming there is still protection needed for flight attendants and other passengers.
Emirates to Operate Five Extra Flights to and from Kuwait
Ahead of the Kuwait National Day holidays, Emirates will operate an extra five flights to and from Kuwait, with the additional services running through 5 March.
The extra flights are operating in response to a surge in demand with travelers flocking abroad for their National and Liberation Day nine day holidays after two years of missed breaks, and amid the easing of entry protocols in Kuwait and in other destinations around the world.
According to booking data, Emirates customers in Kuwait are choosing Dubai for their holidays, for its accessibility as well for its commitment to always offer something new and unique to visitors.
New attractions awaiting Kuwaiti travelers include Ain Dubai, Deep Dive Dubai, Hatta Dome Park and The View at The Palm, to name a few, as well as Expo 2020 Dubai, which is in its final weeks and has already attracted close to 15 million visitors. This is in addition to Dubai’s world-class hotels, shopping and iconic culinary experiences.
Emirates customers travelling to Dubai anytime now or during the final month of Expo 2020, will be eligible to receive a free Emirates Expo Season Pass for every flight ticket booked with the airline, to visit the event as many times as they like until 31 March 2022.
Qatar Airways drops Qmiles in Favour of Avios
The airline has announced that from late March, it will adopt Avios as its preferred reward currency for all privilege club members.
It said members will “experience a seamless transition” into the loyalty programme’s new reward currency, with existing Qmiles balances automatically changed to Avios on a ratio of one Avios to one Qmile. For example, if you have 35,000 Qmiles in your account, you will have 35,000 Avios.
Further, there’s no change to Qpoints, Qcredits or the current Qmiles expiry rules after the switch.
Iceland announces lift of all COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday
Following suit of fellow European nations, Iceland will drop all COVID-19 restrictions starting Feb. 25, a move the Iceland Health Ministry said was due to the development of the pandemic to an “epidemic.”
“All official epidemiological measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted, both domestically and at the border,” the ministry said in a press statement on Feb. 23. “This eliminates all rules on restrictions on gatherings and schooling, as well as the requirement for isolation of those infected with COVID-19.”
As a result, travelers to the country will no longer need to present a pre-departure PCR test, nor test or quarantine upon arrival. Additionally, unvaccinated travelers are welcome to visit, which has been the case since Oct.1, 2021.