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A Southwind Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX leaving Frankfurt airport on June 3, 2023. (Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The EU has banned the Turkish airline Southwind from flying in its airspace due to evidence of the company's links to Russia, Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on March 30.

After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the EU and other countries banned Russian airlines or Russian-owned airplanes from using EU airspace, as well as prohibited the export of aviation-related technology.

Southwind Airlines was founded in April 2022 in Turkey and operates flights to a dozen destinations in Russia and Belarus, as well as Moldova, Lebanon, and North Macedonia.

Southwind planned to start flights between Antalya and Helsinki, but on March 25 was denied landing rights by the Finnish transport authority due to evidence the airline is controlled by Russia.

"Our overall assessment shows that the stated Turkish individuals or companies do not hold the substantial ownership and effective control of Southwind Airlines," said Jarkko Saarimäki, director general of the Finnish transport authority.

"We have concluded that the airline and its control are linked to Russian stakeholders," Saarimäki said.

In response to Finland's decision, Brussels banned Southwind from taking off, landing in the EU, or flying above EU airspace, Cumhuriyet reported.

As well as Helsinki, Southwind Airlines is now banned from operating flights to the German cities of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart.

The airline is also unable to launch a planned route to Zurich because of the ban on flying above EU airspace,  Cumhuriyet said.

The U.S., U.K., and Canada have similar bans on Russian airlines in place.

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