Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is no longer flying through Russian airspace for the time being. This makes the company different from Chinese peers, who still do that.
Many other Asian and Western airlines had previously decided to avoid Russia or were banned by Russia in response to Western sanctions on Russian airlines.
The move by Cathay is striking because society deviates significantly from the Chinese norm. That country, which has strongly strengthened its grip on Hong Kong for several years, has so far refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Detours cost Cathay more time and money, especially on flights to and from Western Europe. For example, more fuel has to be refuelled for the longer distance and, in some cases, more personnel have to be taken along because of the longer flight times.
That comes on top of the airline’s problems due to strict quarantine rules in Hong Kong. As a result, passengers from countries such as the United States and Great Britain are not allowed to enter Hong Kong.