Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Air-freighted disruption

The ongoing war in Ukraine is producing problems that no-one could have predicted. And one of those is problems with air transport corridors to Japan from Europe. Most routes involve long transits over the Russian Federation, which is no longer possible for many airlines due to sanctions and airspace bans imposed by the EU, Canada, the UK and the United States, and reciprocated by the Kremlin.

Asian airlines based in China, Korea and Japan currently aren’t affected and can still overfly Russia, albeit with some difficulties. Russia’s financial sector has been frozen out of global payment systems, so paying the usual overflight/transit fees is tricky for airlines still operating over the vast country. But disruption to passenger and freight operations is still significant. As a result, many airlines are having to rethink their operations, with a possible return to flying the “wrong way” to Japan via Alaska, as happened at times during the Cold War. That’s a much longer journey with obvious impacts on costs and schedules.

In the meantime, air freight direct from Japan has been severely impacted, with Kawasaki informing dealers that there will be no air shipments from Japan to Europe until further notice. Sea shipments will continue as normal but obviously take much longer. Expect other Japanese firms to be in the same situation until new logistic routes can be organised.

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