Airlines start flying in circumvention of Belarus without official instructions – media
At least two AirBaltic flights avoided the airspace of Belarus.AirBaltic avoids Belarus’ airspace / REUTERS
At least two AirBaltic flights flew in circumvention of the airspace of Belarus after an incident with a forced landing of a Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight at Minsk airport.
This was reported by the Belarusian Euroradio, the Ukrainian-registered media outlet European Pravda reported.Screenshot from FlightRadar24
As seen from FlightRadar screenshots shared by Euroradio, one can see that a flight from Riga, Latvia, to Odesa, Ukraine, avoided the territory of Belarus by flying over Lithuania and Poland, and that from Riga, Latvia, to Tbilisi, Georgia, flew through the airspace of Russia.
Forced landing of Ryanair flight in Minsk: Details
- On May 23, 2021, Belarus scrambled fighters to forcedly land a Ryanair plane in Minsk. The plane was heading from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. Co-founder of Telegram’s opposition channel NEXTA, Roman Protasevich, was on board the plane.
- The plane was diverted to Minsk at the command of Belarusian air traffic controllers over a possible bomb threat, despite the fact that the distance to Vilnius was much shorter. After the plane landed, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained. Protasevich faces the death penalty in Belarus.
- An international reaction to the incident was strong. The EU has warned Belarus about the consequences of the landing of the plane in Minsk and plans to discuss this issue at the level of the leaders of the bloc.
- Ryanair issued a statement after the plane had reached its destination in Vilnius, but did not mention the key circumstances of the incident and stated that the flight to Minsk was closer than to Vilnius, which is wrong.