Developing Story. At this point there is only speculation but the buzz has started.
Washington Post reports:
Today’s Moscow-Havana flight taking a very odd detour that avoids the U.S.Huffington Post reports:
At 2:13 p.m. Moscow time on Thursday, or 6:13 a.m. EST, the four-times-a-week Aeroflot flight from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to Havana, Cuba, took off as usual.
But then something strange happened: The plane did not follow its normal route, which takes it northwest over Scandinavia, then across Iceland and Greenland before turning south over Canada and the continental United States. Although this might look like a curve on flat maps, it’s actually the shortest route, following the curve of the Earth, and also the safest as it keeps the plane near land in case of an emergency.
Instead of taking the usual route, Flight 150 headed west over Central Europe, crossing Belarus, Poland, Germany and then France. As of this writing, it’s over the vast expanse of the Atlantic ocean — an extremely unusual path for a trans-Atlantic flight. The route is longer and, because it’s so far from land, potentially less safe.
Frenzied speculation about the whereabouts of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been reignited after keen-eyed plane watchers noticed a discrepancy in the route a regular Aeroflot flight from Moscow has taken to Havana.Several plane-watchers pointed to live route information on flightaware.com, which showed Aeroflot flight SU150 left Moscow shortly after 2pm local time, and took a route over Belarus, Poland, Germany and the northwest coast of France, instead of flying over Iceland and southern Greenland. It avoids UK, US and Canadian airspace using this route.
The flight is due to arrive in Havana at 6.19pm (2119 GMT) hours later than scheduled. Travelling for longer over the Atlantic is potentially more dangerous for the pilot, with no countries to make an emergency landing.
10:28 AM PT: Seems to be a ffalse alarm. WP update:
It turns out, though, that a number of westbound trans-Atlantic flights are today taking this unusual southern route, apparently for weather-related reasons. It’s possible that Snowden could still be on the plane – perhaps his Russian handlers saw the flights diverting, knew Aeroflot would avoid U.S. airspace today and popped him on board. But it would seem that at least the flight path itself is due to weather and not, say, a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.