Belavia has suspended routes to 25 destinations in 17 European countries

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25 destinations in 17 countries have been removed from Belavia's operational network due to the international scandal over how Belarus hijacked a RYANAIR plane, who operated the Athens-Vilnius flight, and forced him to land in Minsk.

On the morning of Sunday, May 23, 2021, an unprecedented aviation event took place. Flight FR4978 Athens - Vilnius, operated by RYANAIR, was diverted to Minsk at the behest of the Lukashenko regime. The order to intercept the commercial plane was allegedly given by President Alexander Lukashenko himself. 

There were 123 people on board the plane, including Roman Protasievic, who laid the foundations of the Nexta channel on the Telegram, thus becoming one of the main sources of news against Alexander Lukashenko. He is hostile to the Belarusian leader and helped coordinate protests.

Belavia has suspended routes to 25 destinations in 17 European countries.

The Belarusian national airline operated a sizeable European network before the May 23 incident, with flights to 40 destinations. However, Belavia's capacity to serve all destinations in the operational network has been significantly weakened in recent days after the European Union and the United Kingdom closed airspace for flights from Belarus.

City of destination (weekly frequency)The countrySuspended until
Riga (2)Latvia25 June
Vilnius (12)Lithuania26 June
Kiev Borispol (14), Kiev Zhuliany (7), Lviv (7), Odessa (5) and Kharkiv (3)UkraineAugust 25
Tallinn (4)EstoniaAugust 28
Amsterdam (6)HollandAugust 30
Barcelona (2)Spania30 October
Berlin (3), Frankfurt (3), Hanover (4) and Munich (2)Germany30 October
Brussels Charleroi (2)Belgia30 October
Helsinki (4)Finland30 October
Kaliningrad (1)Russia30 October
London Gatwick (3)UK30 October
Milano Malpensa (3), Roma Fiumicino (3)Italy30 October
Paris Charles de Gaulle (4)Franta30 October
Prague (3)Czech Republic30 October
Stockholm (4)Sweden30 October
Vienna (2)Austria30 October
Warsaw (9)Poland30 October

Following the closure of the airspace, Belavia has confirmed that routes to 17 destinations in 13 countries will be suspended until October 30, 2021. Six more destinations will be closed by the end of August and another two by the end of June. In a statement, the carrier expressed regret for the situation: "Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond the control of the airline, Belavia is now obliged to cancel dozens of flights during the peak period of the summer season."

In addition to flight cancellations, Belavia is also losing agreements with KLM and Finnair

A closer look at the airline's operational schedule shows that the suspended routes accounted for 107 weekly flights from Minsk National Airport (MSQ), out of a combined total of 175 flights. With these cancellations, the Belavia network will be reduced from 45 destinations to just 20, of which eight are in Russia.

The 25 destinations represent more than half of the airline's weekly capacity. For example, a total of 44.071 weekly seats were available on May 17, with more than 24.000 on routes that have now been suspended.

Although most airlines continue to fly around Belarus, operators in Russia and China continue to use Belarusian airspace.

In support, Russia also refused to allow Air France and Austrian Airlines into Russian airspace because they intended to avoid flying over Belarusian airspace to Moscow.

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