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    Russian Ministry of Transport: flights above Crimea do not violate ICAO regulations
    Russian Aviaton » Wednesday July 9, 2014 17:52 MSK

    Flights above Crimea do not violate ICAO regulations (ICAO — International Civil Aviation Organization), RIA Novosti reports with reference to a representative of Russian Ministry of Transport.

    Crimean airspace remains the matter of dispute since Crimea became part of Russia in March 2014. Ukrainian aviation authorities insist that they are controlling the Crimean airspace and ordered to close it.

    According to instructions of Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE) the airspace of Simferopol and Belbek airports was closed “due to technical problems” for the period from June 25th to September 26th and from April 28th to July 31st respectively. All the carriers, which perform flights above the territory of Crimea (for example, flights to Istanbul from Europe) are navigated away from Crimea. The duration of flight on such routes has increased by about 30 minutes.

    "ICAO experts believe that flights above Crimea and territorial waters are legal", — a representative of the ministry said. This position was elaborated during negotiations between Deputy Minister of Transport Valery Okulov, and ICAO Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, a source familiar with the situation reported.

    According to the source, position of ICAO may be included in a trilateral agreement between aviation authorities of Ukraine, Russia and EU. In case of signing the document no additional changes will be made in the European air navigation plan.

    At present only Russian airlines, which ignored the claims of Ukrainian aviation authorities, perform flights to Crimea. That is why the latter tried to block the flights of Russian carriers to EU. According to Ukrainian part, Russian airlines are violating the regulations concerning flights in its air space by crossing the borders of the no-fly zone, previously controlled by Simferopol branch of UkSATSE.

    According to the management of Russia’s largest carriers, Ukrainian aviation authorities submitted their claims to SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) established by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

    "Flights to Crimea are performed in compliance with the Air Code of Russian Federation and other regulations. Moreover, SAFA system does not consider matters related to airspace management procedures and Ukraine is not a EU member state", — the representative of the Ministry of Transport added.

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