Grant Shapps MP bans Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, from UK airspace

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport and MP for Welwyn Hatfield

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport and MP for Welwyn Hatfield, has barred Russian airlines from UK airspace - Credit: Parliament/Richard Townshend Photography

A government minister has told all scheduled Russian airlines that they may not enter UK airspace.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary and MP for Welwyn Hatfield, has signed restrictions to prohibit Russian airlines from using UK airspace and airports.

It follows the Russian invasion of Ukraine this morning (Thursday, February 24), when Vladimir Putin began what he called a "special military operation" in the eastern European country.

Mr Shapps said: "I've signed restrictions prohibiting all scheduled Russian airlines from entering UK airspace or touching down on British soil.

"Putin's heinous actions will not be ignored, and we will never tolerate those who put people’s lives in danger."

Earlier in the day, the Civil Aviation Authority banned the Russian 'flag carrier' airline Aeroflot from the country.

The CAA said in a statement: "Following the announcement by the prime minister in Parliament today, the UK CAA has suspended the foreign carrier permit held by Aeroflot Russia Airlines (Aeroflot) until further notice.

"This means that Aeroflot will not be permitted to operate flights to or from the United Kingdom until further notice."

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This is the latest political move to disrupt Russian business in the UK after the invasion in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the government froze the assets and imposed travel bans on three leading members of the Russian elite - Gennady Timchenko, the sixth-riches Russian oligarch, and Boris and Igor Rotenberg.

Downing Street today said it intends to issue sanctions against more Russian businesses, including Rostec - Russia's largest defence company.

For airline passengers, the sanction against Russian airlines follows the closure of Ukrainian airspace to commercial flyers after Russia launched airstrikes on several major cities.