Russian authorities, who have refused to allow Norwegian Air to fly over Russian territory on its flights to Bangkok, contend that a bilateral agreement from 1956 makes SAS the only Scandinavian airline allowed to use Russian air space.
Norwegian Air has protested and Norwegian authorities indicated they’d consider closing their air space to Russian airlines in retaliation. But Russia now claims that it’s tied by the agreement, which would need to be renegotiated in order to open up Russian skies to Norwegian Air.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported over the weekend that the Russians earlier had refused to grant air space rights because Norwegian used leased aircraft and crews. When Norwegian moved its aircraft from a subsidiary to the parent company and no longer used internal leases, though, its application for air space rights was still rejected. That’s when the Russian authorities brought up the 58-year-old bilateral agreement.
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Oslo told DN that the embassy had helped Norwegian establish contact between Russian and Norwegian aviation officials and said the conflict would be handled “through relevant channels.” Norwegian Air has complained that it now must fly an expensive detour around Russian territory.