Latvian airline airBaltic will not fly over Belarus after Ryanair forced landing in Minsk
Latvian national air carrier airBaltic will not use the airspace of Belarus for flights, Transport Minister Talis Linkites announced. This decision was made after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was landed in Minsk on May 23 due to a report of an explosive device on board.
On the plane was one of the founders and former editor-in-chief of the telegram channel Nexta Roman Protasevich, who was detained by Belarusian law enforcement agencies.
The Latvian Civil Aviation Agency, Delfi quotes the minister’s statement, is preparing its recommendations in connection with the situation with the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevich, in turn, said on the Latvian radio that in connection with the landing of a flight in Minsk, in addition to refusing to use the airspace of Belarus for airBaltic flights, a ban should be introduced on flights of Belarusian aircraft in the skies over Latvia, as well as sectoral sanctions against Belarus.
According to the Minister of Transport, the ban on flights of Belarusian aircraft, primarily the national air carrier Belavia, has not been introduced. AirBaltic, according to flight tracking sites, is already sending its planes bypassing Belarusian airspace.
The Ryanair flight, which carried 123 passengers, including Roman Protasevich, was landed in Minsk, accompanied by a Belarusian Air Force fighter. Ryanair said that the signal about the bomb on board was received from dispatchers in Minsk. The explosive device was not found. Together with Protasevich, his girlfriend , a 23-year-old Russian citizen, Sophia Sapega, was detained . Ryanair passengers spent almost seven hours at the Minsk airport.