European airlines nix Belarus

This item appears on page 31 of the July 2021 issue.

A Ryanair flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania, was diverted by a fighter jet to Minsk, Belarus, on May 23 so that Belarusian authorities could arrest a dissident journalist and his girlfriend who were on board. Air authorities in Belarus told the pilots that a bomb threat had been made against the aircraft.

In response, air authorities across Europe asked their nations’ airlines to avoid Belarus airspace. Many airlines and countries canceled all flights to and from Belarus, and some countries, including neighboring Poland, banned Belarus’ national airline, Belavia, from conducting flights to their airports or through their airspace.

On June 4, the European Union banned all Belarusian aircraft from landing at EU airports or flying through EU airspace.

On May 28, the Federal Aviation Administration cautioned US airlines against traveling through Belarusian airspace, but it had not ordered them to do so by press time.