(In first paragraph, planes were rerouted by FAA and not ordered out by Canada. In last paragraph, makes clear NAV’s action is only in case of an emergency)
(Reuters) – Two Russian flights attempting to enter Canadian airspace on Monday were rerouted by the Federal Aviation Administration, after the planes identified themselves as “humanitarian” flights, Canadian air-traffic control service said.
Canada banned Russian planes from entering its airspace starting on Sunday as part of severe sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
But the same day, an Aeroflot flight AFL111 violated the ban after declaring itself as a humanitarian flight. Under normal circumstances, Canada’s air-traffic control service NAV CANADA does not have the authority to deny airspace access to an aircraft declaring itself a humanitarian flight.
The other Russian planes that attempted to enter Canadian airspace had departed from U.S. airports.
NAV CANADA along with regulator Transport Canada has issued a directive to all air traffic control units to deny all identifiable Russian airplanes access to their airspace. The only exception to this ban is a prior approval by Transport Canada.
In the event an emergency has been declared, NAV CANADA is required to direct the aircraft to land at the closest airport, and notifying the regulator.
(This story corrects in first paragraph, planes were rerouted by FAA and not ordered out by Canada. In last paragraph, makes clear NAV’s action is only in case of an emergency)
(Reporting by Rachna Dhanrajani and Denny Thomas; Editing by Michael Perry)