A new Cold (Air) War?

There was a burning question begging to be asked recently. It was an obvious, but highly sensitive one that the assembled journalists were clearly itching to ask the Lufthansa Cargo boss at his recent briefing in Frankfurt. What was the situation with Moscow’s suspension andthen temporary resumption of Lufthansa’s overflight rights? The answer, in no […]


There was a burning question begging to be asked recently. It was an obvious, but highly sensitive one that the assembled journalists were clearly itching to ask the Lufthansa Cargo boss at his recent briefing in Frankfurt. What was the situation with Moscow’s suspension andthen temporary resumption of Lufthansa’s overflight rights?

The answer, in no way a surprise, succinctly summed up the situation. The issue had become a high level political one, and a tense one at that, explained Andreas Otto and hence there was no need to further escalate the tensions by commenting further.

The incident – detailed in the article “Russia plays hard-ball with Lufthansa Cargo,” (pg. 53) – highlights a number of issues, most notably how vulnerable the air industry is to global, regional and domestic political whims and how quickly international conventions can be handily swept under the rug.

Never mind that Russia has been playing fast and loose with international air agreements for sometime, as can be seen by the nearly 300 million European airlines are forced to pay Moscow each year for overflight, a practice widely regarded as illegal under international air conventions. Fees levied for overflight rights can only be applied to flight safety and must not exceed those expenses, say legal experts.