Moscow — Seven Western airlines will file official protests because their planes were forced to turn back on regularly scheduled flights to Moscow while the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was under way, airline sources reported.
The planes en route here were radioed from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Saturday while over Soviet territory and told they could not land because of "security reasons." The ban lasted the three hours of the opening ceremony of the games and was then lifted.
Airlines involved were Iberia of Spain, Japan Air Lines, Lufthansa of West Germany, Australian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, British Airways, and Air France, the sources said.
The ban apparently was not applied to EAst European airlines. The sources said an East German Interflug plane landed at the airport during the ban.
Given the climate over East-West tension over the Olympic Games, there was speculation that Soviet officials feared some demonstration could be staged from the air aimed at disrupting the opening ceremony.