Russian Airlines Cancel Czech Flights After Permits Withdrawn

Russian national carrier Aeroflot and two other Russian airlines say they have canceled several flights to and from the Czech Republic due to a decision by the Czech authorities to withdraw flight permits.


The Czech Transport Ministry, which is in charge of licensing, said on July 2 that it took the action after Russia limited Czech Airlines’ right to use routes across Siberia on its flights to Seoul.


However, the ministry said that following a Russian decision earlier in the day to grant temporary access to the transit routes until July 7, it would authorize Russian carriers’ flights to the Czech Republic until that date.


Russia’s Transportation Ministry said that talks between Russian and Czech aviation authorities were under way, adding that it expected the issue to be resolved “soon.”


“These actions by the Czech aviation authorities violate the air-traffic agreement between our countries,” the ministry said.


Czech Airlines parent Smartwings said that access to the Siberian routes was anchored in an intergovernmental agreement and that Russia’s actions were “threatening our business interests on the Prague-Seoul connection.”


Earlier, Aeroflot said in a statement it had canceled four flights, and budget carrier Pobeda announced it had canceled two regular flights to the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary.


Ural Airlines said it had suspended all flights between the Czech Republic and the Urals city of Yekaterinburg and Zhukovsky airport near Moscow.


The airline’s general director later said the company had obtained permits for flights from Yekaterinburg and that those would fly as regularly scheduled.