International pilots try to persuade air controllers to block Aeroflot flights
London — International airline pilots hope to expand their 60-day ban on flights to Moscow by persuading air traffic controllers to block Aeroflot flights to the West.
Their aim is to convince the Soviets to announce a change in interception procedures so that they never again attack an unarmed civilian airliner on a regular commercial flight, even if that airliner has drifted off course over a sensitive area.
''Our business is to move people from point to point in safety,'' said vice-chairman of the British Air Line Pilots Association, Capt. Mike Clark. The pilots are appealing for widespread response among pilots and ground controllers.
Pilots recognize that their own ban on flying to Moscow will not be total. The West Germans, for instance, say they will not join in because they cannot break a 1971 commercial agreement with Moscow covering two-way air traffic. That would leave unaffected Lufthansa's 10 flights a week to Moscow, double the number of British Airways (five) and Air France (also five).
But both British and French pilots say they plan to go ahead with the ban to Moscow in the next few days.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations in Surrey, England, and the British pilots association are both talking with ground control staff in Europe to try to block Aeroflot flights as well.
At time of writing negotiations were under way with British Airways to prevent the airline from trying to discipline pilots who refuse to fly. One possibility is that British Airways pilots will decide that flights to Moscow are ''unsafe'' because of the situation - a decision pilots say they have the right to make.
''We have a lot of strong support among the pilots,'' said Terry Middleton, general affairs secretary of the international federation. ''Back in 1972 we refused to fly worldwide for 24 hours because governments were not doing enough to stop hijacking in the sky.''
''This time it's again a question of air safety,'' he said.
So far Canada is the only country to ban Aeroflot flights. It has done so for 60 days. Australia has told the international federation it will refuse to transport any Soviet diplomat anywhere during the 60-day ban. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have said unofficially they will support the ban to Moscow.