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UNLV aviation expert explains how Ukrainian conflict impacts U.S. air travel, pricing

Russia aviation
Posted at 9:31 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 10:20:12-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Air-raid siren warnings and warplanes over Ukraine can't be heard in the United States, but the effects of emptied skies over Russia and Eastern Europe will be felt by consumers on U.S. soil thousands of miles from the war zones.

Aviation expert and UNLV Associate Professor Dan Bubb said the war and subsequent ban of Russian flights over 36 countries, including the U.S., will affect the aviation industry and consumers alike.

"What we are seeing is ultimately going to be a major inconvenience to passengers," he said. "It's globally connected. It's the ripple effect if you will. If you have a crisis in one part of the world, it's going to have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the world."

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Dr. Peter Tarlow, president of the World Tourism Network, said that will manifest, first, with costs.

"Prices have already gone up radically," he said.

Price hikes will affect domestic flights in the U.S., Tarlow said, as airlines compensate for soaring oil prices and lost revenue from Eastern European markets.

The impact on companies will be even worse after limping through the pandemic, lowered travel and canceled flights due to low staffing.

"Now we're having problems with fuel," he said. "You put all of that together, and you have kind of a perfect storm."

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Tarlow said people should expect more flight delays and, in some cases, much longer flights if traveling internationally.

Delta, United, and American Airlines have all announced they would be adjusting routes in that region to avoid conflicted airspace.

"The chances of being shot down are very little but, first, the legal issues would be terrible, and, two, an airline's first job is to protect its passengers," Tarlow said.

Harry Reid International Airport officials said no Russian airlines fly directly into their airfields so flights into Reid won't be directly affected.

Bubb said people shouldn't be afraid to travel if they can afford it, as flights outside of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine should still be safe.

Bubb cautioned, however, that people should pay attention to federal travel warnings before getting on a plane.