Some airlines and tour providers could soon be altering their routes to keep customers safe. See how it could affect your future travel plans.
Australians looking to travel to Europe could have their plans altered as airlines and tour companies change plans over safety concerns related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Federal Government has issued a “do not travel” warning for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Although a number of Russian airports have closed to the public, Australians already in the country are urged to leave immediately, as the security situation could continue to deteriorate without warning.
Other countries surrounding Russia and Ukraine – such as Moldova, Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – have travel warnings to “exercise a high degree of caution” in place.
With Russian military now invading Ukraine’s borders, numerous European countries have shut their airspace to both countries, with airlines and tour companies changing flight routes and itineraries.
Over the weekend Qantas altered its flights between Darwin and London to avoid parts of northern Russia which were previously travelled over.
Now, it takes a path through the Middle East and southern Europe, which has increased the total flying time by about an hour.
“Given the current circumstances and complexities, we’re opting to use one of our alternative flight paths that doesn’t overfly Russia, while we continue to monitor this evolving situation,” a Qantas spokesman said.
“We regularly review our flight paths and make any adjustments we consider prudent.”
Emirates has also made minor re-routing changes to its Stockholm, Moscow and St Petersburg flights, as well as to some if its US services because they ordinarily travel over the airspace of a portion of Russia and the whole of Ukraine.
As a result, flight times on those particular routes could be slightly longer.
“We are closely monitoring developments of the situation, and should it be required, we will take the necessary action,” an Emirates spokeswoman said.
“The safety of our passengers, employees and operations will always be our top priority.”
While Singapore Airlines doesn’t fly over the Ukraine airspace or near the Russian-Ukrainian border region, it suspended all return services between Singapore and Moscow as of February 28.
But there are currently no other changes to its European operations.
“SIA apologises to all affected customers for the inconvenience caused,” airline spokesman Karl Schubert said.
“All affected customers will be offered a full refund of the unused portion of their ticket.”
A Royal Caribbean International spokeswoman said the recent events made it “increasingly uncertain” if the company could visit St. Petersburg in Russia and had planned for alternate ports to be stopped at.
“The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority. We are continuously monitoring events taking place around the world, including the situation in Ukraine.
“We have planned for alternative ports and will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks.
“Our guests and travel advisers will be the first to learn of any updates we need to make to keep everyone safe.”
Guided tour provider Intrepid has cancelled all departures to Ukraine and Russia until June 2022 and its General Manager Global Product Erica Kritikideas said the company was actively monitoring and following government travel advisories.
“This is a response to safety concerns connected with the current conflict situation, and following advice from government travel alerts for these destinations.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are hopeful of a safe and peaceful path out of this crisis soon.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine during these devastating times.“