KLM, the Dutch flag carrier, diverted two flights headed for Moscow and St Petersburg on Saturday after learning that the multi-million-dollar planes could be left stranded in Russia.
Despite President Vladimir Putin’s indiscriminate war on Ukraine, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has continued to fly between its home in Amsterdam and the Russian Federation.
KLM flight KL903 was destined for Moscow on Saturday, while KL1395 was four hours into its trip to St Petersburg when it was abruptly returned back to the Netherlands.
The airline stated that it only realized it wouldn’t be able to get additional parts for the plane if there was a mechanical problem after the flights had left Amsterdam.
The European Commission has slammed Putin’s regime with some of the most severe economic penalties ever seen, including a ban on aviation spare parts exports.
Under the sanctions, KLM is prohibited from doing business with local aircraft repair businesses and is not permitted to send spare parts from Amsterdam if one of its planes has to be repaired.
The realization arrived too late, and Flight 908 was already on its way to Moscow, with insufficient fuel to return to Amsterdam. The flight was diverted to Copenhagen, where it was refueled before continuing on to the Netherlands.
The Dutch government has not followed the UK’s lead in banning Russian planes from its airspace, which was met with a reciprocal ban on British airlines flying over Russia.
The fear of a tit-for-tat airspace ban did not deter a host of European countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovenia, from barring Russian aircraft from their airspace.