Lithuanian government bans flights to / from Lithuania flying through Belarus airspace
In response to Belarus' unprecedented action through forced landing of a civilian aircraft on an international route to Vilnius, Lithuania bans flights across unsafe territory to Belarus. This decision was taken by the Lithuanian government on Monday, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
"The safety of all air passengers is an absolute priority. Yesterday's incident involving a civilian aircraft on an international route was an unprecedented event in the history of European Union airspace, affecting dozens of EU citizens, children and families. For the safety of Lithuanian citizens, air carriers flying to / from Lithuania will have to redirect their flights to avoid Belarusian airspace.", Says the Minister of Transport and Communications, Marius Skuodis.
Air carriers arriving and departing from Lithuania will be sent a special notice on Tuesday informing them that arrivals / departures to / from Lithuanian airports will be prohibited for flights crossing Belarusian airspace. This ban will take effect on Tuesday at 3 am. If the airlines reject this decision, the flight plans will not be approved.
As a result of this requirement, 26 daily flights to / from Lithuania will be affected.
According to the ministry, some airlines have already redirected their flights to avoid crossing Belarus immediately after last night's incident.
The ministry also convenes a meeting of the National Civil Aviation Security Commission. Representatives of the Lithuanian Transport Security Administration, the State Security Department, the Ministry of Interior, the Air Force, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Public Security Service, the Police Department, the Customs Service and the State Border Guard Service will attend the Commission meeting chaired by Minister of Transport and Communications Skuodis. The Commission will discuss the situation and the actions to be taken.
Following the growing threat to the safety and lives of people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strong warning against traveling to Belarus and urged citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who are currently in Belarus to leave the country immediately.