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Siberian spat threatens Czech-Russian air services

Czech and Russian authorities are trying to resolve a dispute over route rights which has threatened to cut air transport connections between the two countries.

The dispute centres on a restriction on access to Siberian airspace against Czech Airlines' service between Prague and Seoul.

Czech Airlines operates the route at four-times-weekly frequency with Airbus A330s, according to Cirium schedules data.

The Czech transport ministry claims its Russian counterpart has "unilaterally restricted" the right to operate through Siberian airspace, a route which the Czech carrier has "long used".

It adds that the decision is a "breach" of traffic rights laid out in a 1966 bilateral agreement, and it consequently imposed retaliatory restrictions on Russian operators.

Following discussions between the two governments the dispute has been temporarily patched with permissions for carriers from each country to continue operations until 7 July.

"In the meantime, both sides will actively act to reach an agreement," says the Czech ministry. "[We are] not trying to block air traffic between the two countries, but [this government] must defend the legitimate interests of its air carriers."

Russian carriers including Aeroflot, Pobeda, S7 Airlines and Ural Airlines have services to the Czech Republic, according to Cirium data.

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