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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Russia threatened SAS

Conflicts over landing times and routes for Russian airline Aeroflot and Scandinavian Airlines SAS led to plenty of turbulence between Russian and Norwegian aviation officials earlier this autumn. At one point, reported Aftenposten last week, the Russians threatened to close their air space to SAS if Aeroflot didn’t get the routes it wanted in and out of Oslo.

SAS seems to have lost a battle against Aeroflot. PHOTO: Scandinavian Airlines

That would have severely disrupted SAS’ routes from the Scandinavian capitals to destinations in Asia, especially Beijing and Tokyo. The conflict ended with Aeroflot getting what it wanted, while SAS did not get the landing times it sought in Moscow.

It all started when Aeroflot applied to expand its routes into Oslo from seven to 10 per week. Permission was granted by Norwegian aviation authorities, as long as an aviation agreement between Norway and Russia was upheld.

SAS later filed a complaint, reported Aftenposten, that it had not received the landing times it wanted for expanded service between Copenhagen and Moscow. Since Norway owns part of SAS, it responded by withdrawing Aeroflot’s new landing rights in Oslo.

That infuriated the Russians, according to Aftenposten, who responded by threatening to deny SAS the right to fly over Russia unless Aeroflot secured its 10 flights a week to Oslo. SAS, faced with having to suspend its routes to Beijing and Tokyo, capitulated and the Norwegians allowed Aeroflot to move forward with its expansion in Oslo.

Norwegian officials called the conflict “political” and have called for more “dialogue” between the two sides.

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