If China And Russia Are BFFs, Why Is China Avoiding Russian Airspace?

Hong Kong based carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is going out of its way to avoid Russian airspace—literally.

The airline will likely have the world's longest flight once plans for its rerouting of flights between Hong Kong and New York are complete. The new route adds nearly two hours and 2300 miles to the flight just to avoid Russian airspace.

The airline plans to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport over the Atlantic Ocean, the U.K., southern Europe and central Asia, according to a memo to Cathay flight staff seen by Bloomberg News. The distance of 16,618 kilometers (10,326 miles) would surpass Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s New York service, which takes about 17-and-a-half hours to cover 15,349 kilometers, FlightRadar24 data show.

If the Ukrainian War and NATO sanctions against Russia are supposed to be pushing Russia and China closer together, why does a Chinese airline feel the need to add distance, time, and cost to a major route just to avoid Russia?