Ukraine has closed its airspace for civil flights after Russia started attacks on several Ukrainian sites on Thursday morning, 24th February.
Notams (Notice to Air Missions) have been issued for all of Ukraine, as well as the surrounding areas of Russia, Belarus and Moldova within 100 nautical miles of Ukraine, warning air operators to avoid the airspace.
Local reports say that Russian forces are attempting to take control of several Ukrainian airfields, among them Kharkiv and Kyiv Boryspil, the country’s largest airport. Videos posted on Social Media are showing various explosions.
The capital’s main airport has been evacuated and its runways are closed, with many civil aircraft still on the ground. Flightradar24 data shows that airplanes of Ukraine International, Azur Air Ukraine, Windrose and SkyUp Airlines are currently at Boryspil Airport.
Ukraine International Airlines confirmed that it has cancelled all flight operations until further notice.
Ukrainian authorities say Russia also carried out attacks on Hostomel Airport near Kyiv. Hostomel is the home of aircraft manufacturer and cargo carrier Antonov and the main base of its six-engined An-225, the largest aircraft in the world. The only An-225 ever built is currently on the ground at the airport. It was not immediately clear whether it was damaged or not.
Neighboring country Moldova closed its airspace and raised its threat level on Thursday amid the ongoing war. Meanwhile, Russia closed several airports close to the Ukrainian border, including Belgorod, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.