PM asked to explain how a private plane was allowed to fly from Scotland to Moscow breaching Russian sanctions
A private charter flight travelled from Inverness to Moscow breaching UK sanctions against Russia, despite air traffic control being informed about the flight beforehand.
SNP MP Richard Thomson raised the issue in parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions, urging the PM to tell the house how it was allowed to happen.
The details of a transcript from air traffic control flight were published in the Press and Journal on Monday, before being aired in the Commons.
Thomson asked how the 26 February flight to the Russian capital, two days after the invasion of Ukraine, was “allowed to take off from Inverness Airport in an apparent breach of a UK ban on flights of that nature, which had come into effect midnight the day before.”
“Air traffic control transcripts published ..has revealed that despite being informed of the intended flight, no attempt was made by the UK government or its agencies to prevent the plane from taking off.
He called on Boris Johnson to tell the Commons if the government knew who was travelling on the plane and why no attempt was made to ground it when authorities were told about it.
Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, the UK along with the US, EU and other countries slapped sanctions onto Russian individuals linked to the Kremlin. Hundreds-of-billions of pounds worth of assets have been seized by the UK so far.
A spokesperson for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited said: “We carried out the instructions received from the authorities at the time to the letter.
Our actions were correct and appropriate and this has been borne out by an examination of the record.”
The airport authority confirmed it was aware of the flight had no information relating to passengers.
The department for Transport has been asked for a comment.
In the Press and Journal, the transcripts reportedly cleared airport officials of wrongdoing, with the SNP calling for transport secretary Grant Shapps to explain how the sanctions-busting flight was allowed to get away – or he risks a “cover up”.
At PMQs, the prime minister said he would keep MPs “properly informed”.