• Russia mulls overflight ban for European, U.S. airlines

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    MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that Russia is considering an overflight ban for European and U.S. airlines to the Asia-Pacific region in retaliation for their sanctions targeting Russia’s low-cost airline Dobrolet.

    “We are considering measures that would be an answer to the European Union (EU) sanctions against Dobrolet,” Medvedev said at a government session.

    A number of retaliatory steps are “on the table,” such as a ban on European and American airlines using Russian airspace for flights to the Asia-Pacific region, the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.

    “Russia is also ready to revise the rules of using trans-Siberian routes, namely to denounce the agreed principles of upgrading the existing system of trans-Siberian routes,” Medvedev said, adding that negotiations with U.S. aviation authorities on the use of trans-Siberian routes will be cut off.

    He also said that there are possibilities of changing entry and exit points in Russia’s airspace for charter flights of European and American air carriers.

    “These measures might not be introduced at once, but the Russian government might take them as response to sanctions imposed by the EU on Dobrolet, as such measures will significantly raise Western airlines’ costs,” said Medvedev.

    Meanwhile, Russia has banned Ukrainian air companies’ certain transit flights via Russia to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey, said Medvedev.

    Dobrolet airlines, the exclusive operator of flights between Moscow and Simferopol of Crimea, had to cease all its operations from Aug. 4 after it was blacklisted by the EU on July 30 as one of the sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. PNA

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