Russian A321 searched by U.K. police sparks wider row

An Aeroflot A321 arriving at Heathrow was searched by British police after its passengers and crew were asked to leave.

The pilot and first officer refused to depart while the search took place.

British police have not said what they were looking for or if they found anything.

The Russians have stated in their usual “we’re innocent and above suspicion” way, that there were no grounds for the search.

Russian authorities have said they may now ‘storm’ a British aircraft when it arrives in Moscow.

The fit for tat responses continue apace as the Russians were for once, blindsided by the reaction to the poisoning of a former double agent, his daughter and by accident, a British policeman.

International reaction has been unusually unified, and the operation best described as botched in the worst way.

Quite how much this will affect aviation transit rights is the main concern of airlines.

Russia has already threatened KLM with a ban from Russian airspace over a spat about landing rights in Amsterdam. The closing of air space would be onerous when flying to Japan, China, Korea and South East Asia.

However it remains unlikely, Aeroflot collects around $6m a day in over-flight fees it keeps from foreign airlines.