The unusual path taken by a Moscow-to-Havana flight is fueling Internet speculation that Edward Snowden is onboard.
An Aeroflot aircraft is currently flying over the Atlantic Ocean — apparently "avoiding US airspace." The flight, code AFL 150, departed from the Russian Sheremetyevo International Airport at 2:05 p.m. MSK with a destination of Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. The 12-hour 14-minute flight is travelling at 32,000 feet.
Aeroflot 150 is the same flight Snowden was booked to board on June 24, when dozens of reporters boarded the flight and were disappointed to find Snowden never made the trip. Hundreds of reporters and photographers had flocked to Havana.
Here is an image outlining the flight's usual travel path compared with the route it has taken today:
Another trans-continental flight flying over the Atlantic is taking a similar route, but its flight path is making no effort to avoid US airspace.
Virgin Air flight 63, heading to Havana from London's Gatwick International Airport has a flight plan taking them over Florida to reach Jose Marti International airport.
Aeroflot 150's flight plan makes an apparent attempt to avoid the mainland of the United States.
An a alleged statement from FlightAware (a flight tracking service, being widely used to track the flight) CEO regarding Aeroflot flight #150 has emerged on PasteBin, a web application used for storing text.
Message from FlightAware CEO Ref Aeroflot Flight #150
"We are receiving a large volume of calls about Aeroflot 150, en route from Moscow to Havana asking if the Southern routing across the Atlantic Ocean is typical and asking if this routing avoids US airspace.
Because of winds (which blow East), the flight generally takes a more Northern route, up over Iceland, through Canada, and down the Eastern seaboard. However, on days when the winds are light or unusual, it can be more favorable to take a more Southern route which also avoids the additional overflight fees from Canada and the U.S. The route being flown today is comparable distance to the Northern/Canada route, although it appears significantly more direct due to flat projections of a curved Earth. The flight duration today is about the same as the last couple weeks, which suggest they're taking this routing due to winds/overflight fees. The last two times we saw this flight take a similar route were June 20 and June 8.
On the route it's flying today, it will fly in U.S. airspace; the U.S. controls most of the Western half of the North Atlantic. To actually avoid U.S. airspace, a flight from Moscow to Havana would likely have to fly South to (approximately) Western Sahara and then West, which would be about 30% further than either of the routings discussed above."
RT.com is currently reporting that one of their colleagues did not see Snowden on board the Aeroflot flight 150.
— RT_CUBA (@RT_CUBA) July 11, 2013
This situation seems to have been sparked by a single Tweet by popular internet hacktivist Jester.
FTR: I'm not saying #Snowden is or is not that plane. Just noting the odd behavior of the flight.
— JΞSTΞR™ (@th3j35t3r) July 11, 2013