According to an article in the Washington Post, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had to scrap a trip to Moldova on Friday after his plane was barred from entering Romanian and Hungarian airspace.

Being denied entry to airspace does not seem an arbitrary action since “the deputy prime minister is one of the most senior Russian officials slapped with an EU visa ban in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”

However, Rogozin’s reaction was very harsh after the incident:

He issued a warning for the Romanian government: “You wait for an answer, bastards!”

“Moscow is treating the incident as a deliberate provocation, which seriously damages the bilateral relations,” the ministry said, urging Romania to investigate the incident.

However, one could argue that visa ban should prevent a person from entering a country’s land, but still permit them to fly over it to reach a non-banned region/country.

Question: Is it common to deny airspace access rights to personae non gratae within the European Union?

  • 4
    the most egregious example I can think of is when Bolivia's president Evo Morales was prevented from crossing most of EU airspace, not because HE was a "persona non grata" but because he was suspected of carrying Snowden on board en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales_grounding_incident
    – Federico
    Aug 4, 2017 at 17:09
  • It's not common because it is not common for anyone to be declared persona non grata.
    – phoog
    Aug 5, 2017 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


It's very rare. Per your question, it occurred because Rogozin was "slapped with an EU visa ban in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea."

Leaving aside the merit of disallowing him to use EU airspace on that ground, there are few such lists - he's basically on a list at the side of strongmen like Mugabe. (A number of airlines are banned too, though for other reasons - namely security.)

I'm not aware off the top of my head of recent or older events like this, but then I haven't been keenly following the news as much as I should have in recent years (or earlier). That said, it seems safe to assume that Mugabe and similar aren't trying to fly over Europe knowing they're not welcome there. Doing so takes someone from a country that has no qualms with flexing its muscles. For instance Russia.

  • This doesn't really answer the question, I'm afraid. Was there ever an attempt of anyone on that list flying through EU airspace and was it denied or allowed?
    – Philipp
    Aug 4, 2017 at 23:29
  • 2
    I don't believe there is any such thing as "EU airspace". There is certainly no universal air-traffic control system (desirable though many people in civil aviation consider it to develop one). "Airspace" and its management, so far as I'm aware, is controlled by individual countries - as are things like defence and foreign policy.
    – WS2
    Jun 11, 2019 at 12:06
  • @WS2: You're correct. Though there's a work in progress called the Single European Sky. Jun 11, 2019 at 12:26

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