An unusual sight: a Russian government plane landed in Basel. The European airspace is actually closed to Russian aircraft. What was that all about?

It’s been a long time since a Russian plane landed at a European airport. A no-fly zone has actually been in effect for months: planes from Russia are no longer allowed to fly over almost all EU countries. The same applies to aircraft from most European countries, which in turn have to give Russia a wide berth if they want to go to Asia, for example. It is a consequence of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Nevertheless, a plane from Russia landed at the Euro Airport in Basel – and then a state airline. However, the Ilyushin II-96-300 with the registration RSD86 had taken a considerable detour to get to Switzerland: Instead of flying there directly via Eastern Europe, the plane had to fly via Turkey and North Africa and thus one make a wide berth around Europe – the flight platform “Flightradar24” estimates the flight duration to be three times the time normally required.

Russian plane had to take a detour

Curious: the Russian plane flew over France and Switzerland after all. But actually there is also a ban on overflights and even less on landing for Russian planes. So why was the Ilyushin allowed to go down in Switzerland? Because of a special permit, a so-called “diplomatic clearance”.

Because the plane picked up embassy staff from France and Switzerland and was therefore allowed to use the airspace of both countries as an exception. Normal aircraft from Russia must continue to avoid European airspace. This is particularly bitter in the case of Kaliningrad, a part of Russian territory that is surrounded by EU countries and can now only be reached via a much longer route.

However, the employees of the Russian embassies had a long return journey ahead of them: the plane had to fly a complicated detour again, and so the journey to Moscow-Vnukovo airport took not three hours, as was usual before the Ukraine war, but a full nine hours. Hopefully there was good entertainment on board…

Quelle:  “BZ Basel”, “Flightradar24”