Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

How closure of Russian airspace has changed flight times to India, in maps

Air India has remained unaffected, as it continues to use Russian airspace for its flights to and from the western hemisphere.

Indian students who were stranded in Ukraine land in Mumbai from Bucharest. (Express Photo: Pradip Das)

The closure of Russian airspace for US-based, Canadian and European airlines has meant flights between some major destinations in these jurisdictions and India have become longer.

For passengers on these carriers, longer flight times have meant inconvenience and higher fares.

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Air India has remained unaffected, as it continues to use Russian airspace for its flights to and from the western hemisphere.

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The screengrabs from the flight tracking website Flightradar24 show routes and flight times from randomly picked dates before and after the invasion of Ukraine, which triggered the West’s closure of airspaces to Russian aircraft, and Moscow’s retaliation.

The routes in the screengrabs are Newark-Delhi, Chicago-Delhi, Vancouver-Delhi and Helsinki-Delhi.

The flight times shown in these examples are indicative. Within the broad ‘before’ and ‘after’ categories, aircraft may reach a little sooner or later on a daily basis depending on flight conditions on that day.

United Airlines flight from Newark to Delhi that avoided its usual route of flying through the Russian airspace took 13 hours and 53 minutes on March 1 to arrive in Delhi. The aircraft flew over the Northern Atlantic Ocean, and flying over Europe and the Middle East before entering the Indian subcontinent. (Source: Flightradar24) The same United Airlines flight from Newark to Delhi, on February 2, had taken only 12 hours and 38 minutes to operate while flying over Russian airspace before entering India. (Source: Flightradar24) Air India’s Newark-Delhi service on March 1, which continued its use of Russian airspace even after the crisis began, had a flight duration of 13 hours and 19 minutes. Similar flight durations were observed for flights prior to the Ukraine crisis as well. (Source: Flightradar24) A similar extension of flight time was faced by United Airlines’s Chicago-Delhi service that flew for 14 hours and 43 minutes on March 1 to avoid Russian airspace. It followed a similar route as the airline’s Newark-Delhi flight. (Source: Flightradar24) The Chicago-Delhi flight operated by United Airlines took only 13 hours and 16 minutes, and covered a visibly shorter distance when it flew through Russian airspace on February 2. (Source: Flightradar24) Air India’s Chicago-Delhi service operated for a flight time of only 13 hours and 30 minutes on March 1. (Source: Flightradar24) Finnair’s flight from Helsinki to Delhi on March 2, which avoided Russian airspace to fly southwards over Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East before entering the Indian subcontinent, took 8 hours 52 minutes — more than three hours longer than it took when the flight followed the route over Russia. (Source: Flightradar24) The Helsinki to Delhi flight took Finnair 6 hours and 15 minutes on February 2, when it flew eastward into Russia before heading south to arrive into Delhi. (Source: Flightradar24) This Dublin-Delhi flight on March 3 is the second leg of Air Canada’s Vancouver to Delhi service, which was broken into two legs with a technical stopover in Dublin for the long-haul flight to be able to avoid Russian airspace. Including the stopover time, the service took more than 37 hours to conclude. (Source: Flightradar24) This is Air Canada’s Vancouver to Delhi service when it operated over Russian airspace flying west to cross the international dateline and heading south to enter Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and then India. The non-stop flight, on February 24, took 13 hours and 40 minutes from Vancouver to Delhi. (Source: Flightradar24) Air India’s Vancouver-Delhi non-stop service, which continued overflying Russia to go to Vancouver had a flight duration of 13 hours 56 minutes on March 2. (Source: Flightradar24)

First published on: 05-03-2022 at 03:19 IST
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