Canadian Airlines has apparently been banned from flying a long-used route in Russian airspace, airline officials indicated earlier this week. On April 12, a Canadian Airlines flight from Beijing to Vancouver was forced to return to Beijing after Russian authorities refused it access to Russian airspace. Russian authorities blamed the refusal on what they said was a failure by Canadian Airlines to file the proper paperwork. But the action by Moscow appears to be retaliation for an incident that occurred in late March. In that incident, an airliner belonging to Russia’s Aeroflot was grounded in Montreal due to a financial dispute. That incident was resolved — and the aircraft released — when Aeroflot agreed to pay $5.8 million to a Canadian company involved financially with Aeroflot in a Moscow hotel. (AP, April 15) Russia’s Foreign Ministry protested that earlier incident, however, describing it as an unfriendly act by Canadian authorities. Valery Okulov, the director general of Aeroflot, is the son-in-law of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. (AP, Itar-Tass, March 31; see also Monitor, April 2)
Duma May Hold Open Vote on Kirienko.