Latvian airspace closed to Russian planes

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In response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the Ministry of Transport is planning to close Latvian airspace to airlines registered in Russia for commercial flights.

The decision was confirmed at a specially-convened cabinet meeting Saturday evening. From midnight, all Russian-registered aircraft will be banned from Latvian airspace.

Latvia has made the decision in coordination with Lithuania and Estonia, which are doing the same.

"Any sanctions and restrictions work much more successfully if they are broad and comprehensive, therefore Latvia is coordinating with the other Baltic states on this matter," Trasnport Minister Tālis Linkaits said.

Countries that have already unilaterally closed their airspace to Russian airlines include Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

As the isolation of Russia becomes ever more complete, Latvian airline airBaltic announced it is suspending all flights to destinations in the Russian Federation. 

"Due to increased risk and imposed restrictions all its flights to and from Russia are cancelled from February 26 until March 26," the airline said.

"The safety and security of our passengers and employees is the main priority of airBaltic. airBaltic is evaluating the current situation before each flight and remains in close contact with national and international authorities. The airline is flexible and ready to adjust its flight schedule when necessary.

"airBaltic invites all affected passengers to check their booking on the airline’s webpage for a refund or contact airBaltic Call Centre for other possible changes by calling at +371 67280422.

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