Lufthansa gets green light to resume flights to Russia

FILE - In this Thursday, March 16, 2017 file photo, the logo of German Lufthansa airline is attached at a gate during the company's annual press conference in Munich, Germany. German officials say Germany has denied Russian airlines permission to use its airspace after Moscow failed to approve a Lufthansa flight to Russia. In a statement, Germany’s Transport Ministry said the decision was based on the practice of reciprocal approval of flights, and affected connections operated by Aeroflot and budget carrier S7. The tit-for-tat decision on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 comes amid mounting tension between Russia and the European Union over Moscow’s support for Belarus.

BERLIN (AP) — German airline Lufthansa said late Wednesday that it has received the green light from Russia to resume flights there, after being briefly denied permission, which resulted in a reciprocal blocking of flights by Germany.

In a statement, Lufthansa said Russian authorities had issued approval for its flights from Frankfurt to Moscow and St. Petersburg for the month of June.

Lufthansa had been forced to cancel two flights Tuesday and Wednesday after failing to get approval from Russia’s aviation authority FATA.

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“Due to the underlying reciprocal practice, the German Federal Aviation Authority also did not issue any further permits for flights of the Russian carriers as long as the permits were pending on the Russian side,” Germany’s Transport Ministry said in a statement.

The move affected connections operated from Russia by Aeroflot and budget carrier S7.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the green light for Lufthansa would prompt German authorities in turn to issue approval for Russian airlines to resume flights to Germany.

But the ministry had stated that “as soon as the FATA approvals for Lufthansa flights are granted by the Russian side, the flights of Russian companies will also be approved.”

The tit-for-tat spat comes amid mounting tension between Russia and the European Union over Moscow’s support for Belarus.

The 27-nation bloc and the United States last week introduced fresh sanctions against Belarus after authorities there diverted an international flight to arrest a dissident journalist. The sanctions come on top of those already imposed on Belarusian officials, including its authoritarian leader, President Alexander Lukashenko, for rigging elections and clamping down on protests last year.

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