Austrian Airlines cancels Moscow-bound flight after Russia refuses a reroute outside Belarusian airspace
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Following the grounding of a Ryanair flight on Sunday from Greece to Lithuania; in Minsk, Belarus, over a bomb scare and subsequent arrest of opposition journalist and his girlfriend , the European Union imposed sanctions on Belarus. Many air carriers in Europe including Austrian Airlines have been avoiding to fly over the Belarusian airspace and using Belarusian airports after sanctions were imposed.
An Austrian Airlines official told, because it "has suspended flights over Belarusian airspace until further notice [...] it is also necessary to adjust the flight route from Vienna to Moscow. The change in the flight path must be approved by the authorities. Russian officials did not give their approval to us."
The representative cited a recommendation by the(EASA). A recommendation published in a Safety Information Bulletin by the aviation body dated May 25 stated: EASA operators are to "avoid operations in [Flight Information Region] Minsk" unless its use is "deemed necessary", and third country operators "authorised by EASA" do the same "when conducting operations to, from and within the EU" until an international investigation into Protasevich's arrest hasn't completed.
According to The Guardian, was also following an EASA recommendation, and cancelled a flight from Paris to Moscow for the second consecutive day. It was denied permission on Wednesday. Air France has cancelled at least four flights from Paris to Moscow, the BBC reported. An Austrian Airlines cargo flight in , China bound for Vienna was also grounded over similar concerns.
The Guardian reported British Airways had modified routes approved. Along with those air carriers, also listed 's modified routes were also approved.and
The Foreign Ministry of Austria called Russia's position "absolutely incomprehensible to us", adding, according to , that all flights bound for and over Russia should be able to continue without hindrance. According to , when asked by journalists, Russian Press Secretary said "[t]he presidential administration is not in charge of controlling air traffic" and advised the question be posed to "our aviation authorities".
The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization held an "exceptional session" Thursday on the initial grounding, The Guardian reported. Belarus is accused of violating the 1944 , to which it is a signatory.
According to a May 25 BBC article, European airlines KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines and announced their suspension of flights over Belarusian airspace. LOT Polish Airlines suspended flights to and from Minsk, and Ukraine banned all carriers from flying over or into Belarus. Singapore Airlines declared rerouting its flights as well.
Belarus' national carrier United Kingdom and its suspension of eleven routes to EU cities and one to the Russian city . Belavia also suspended flights to France and the UK until October 30, the BBC reported.has been the subject of many cancellations, including a suspension of its operating permit in the
- "Belarus: Russia blocks some flights for avoiding its ally" — , May 28, 2021
- Daniel Boffey, Luke Harding. "Russia refuses to allow European planes to land in Moscow" — , May 27, 2021
- "Russia rejects request by Austrian Airlines to fly to Moscow bypassing Belarus" — , May 27, 2021
- Jonny Tickle. "Austrian Airlines cancels flight from Vienna to Moscow after Russian authorities reject flightpath bypassing Belarusian airspace" — , May 27, 2021
- Reuters, AP, Interfax. "Russia prohibits Austrian Airlines flight to arrive without entering Belarusian airspace" — , May 27, 2021
- "Belarus flights redirected after Roman Protasevich's arrest" — , May 25, 2021
- "Operations in Belarus Airspace" — , May 25, 2021 (PDF)
- Céimin Burke. "EU leaders agree range of sanctions on Belarus over arrest of journalist, including air space ban for Belarusian flights" — , May 24, 2021