EU air traffic agency helping airlines that want to bypass Belarus


The European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said on Monday it was working with airlines and air navigation services in countries neighbouring Belarus to ensure airlines can avoid Belarusian air space if they wish.

As EU leaders gathered to discuss air traffic restrictions on Belarus after Minsk forced the landing of a Ryanair flight on Sunday to arrest an opposition journalist, Eurocontrol said it was expecting 64 flights operated by the Belarusian carrier Belavia in Eurocontrol airspace on Monday.

Eurocontrol said three EU airlines – Germany’s Lufthansa, Poland’s LOT and Latvia’s airBaltic – operated 14 flights a week to Belarus.

“Due to the closure of the eastern part of Ukrainian airspace, a number of EU airlines use the airspace of Belarus on their flights to Asia,” Eurocontrol told Reuters.

The agency said around 2,500 flights using EU airspace took off from, landed in or overflew Belarus in the week to May 19.