EU bans NATO state airline over alleged Russia ties – media — RT World News

The decision came after the Finnish Transport Authority claimed that Turkish airline Southwind was partly owned by Russian investors

The European Union has closed its airspace to Turkish carrier Southwind Airlines over its alleged ties to Russia, Swiss-based news site Aero Telegraph reported this week. According to the report, this measure is related to the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Charter, headquartered in Antalya Airline It was created in 2022 to carry passengers between Russia and Turkey but has recently requested permission to also operate flights from Turkey to Germany, Greece, Finland and other EU countries. However, on March 25, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Forbidden The airline from its airspace, explaining that the investigation revealed this “Substantial ownership and effective control” The carrier is “Linked to Russian stakeholders” Therefore, it cannot be allowed to operate in the European Union country.

According to the Aero Telegraph, on March 28, Brussels informed EU member states that Southwind Airlines was subject to a takeoff, overflight and landing ban under its regulations covering sanctions against Russia, effectively banning the airline from entering EU airspace. This measure was scheduled to take effect immediately.

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) on Friday canceled Southwind flights between Antalya and Kaliningrad, citing the ban, because the flights had previously passed through European Union airspace.

Questions about the Turkish airline's background were first raised by the German newspaper Bild last December. Media reported at the time that Southwind had been founded by Russian citizens and leased most of its staff and fleet from Nordwind Airlines, a Russian airline banned in the European Union. In response, Safa Oruc, Southwind's head of aviation safety, told Finnish news outlet YLE that the airline is owned by a Turkish national and that both the carrier and its aircraft are registered in Turkey.

The European Union closed its airspace to Russian planes and airlines as part of sanctions against Russia shortly after the Ukrainian conflict began in February 2022. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia took similar measures. Russia imposed a similar ban on airlines from those countries in response.

In February, the European Union and the United States imposed another set of sanctions against Russia targeting a variety of entities in several countries, including Turkey. Sanctions were imposed on 16 Turkish companies for allegedly facilitating the transit of dual-use goods that could be used by the Russian military. Washington also warned Ankara that Turkish banks and more companies may be subject to secondary sanctions due to their dealings with Russian entities.

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