Belavia suspends Belgrade over airspace restrictions


Belarus’ national carrier Belavia has temporarily suspended its three-weekly service between Minsk and Belgrade over a ban on the country’s airlines from entering the airspace of a number of European countries in response to the grounding of a Ryanair flight in Belarus. Ukraine’s ban on Belarus-registered aircraft resulted in Belavia cancelling services to the Serbian capital until at least June 30. “Due to EU and Ukrainian aviation bans and the inability to operate scheduled flights to Belgrade, services are cancelled from May 29 until June 30, 2021. Airline specialists are calculating possible routing options for scheduled and charter flights that are affected by the bans in order to determine their feasibility”, Belavia said in a statement. The carrier has suspended flights to more than twelve countries. The Belorussian national carrier has performed well on its service between Minsk and Belgrade, carrying a significant number of transfer passengers to Russia and former Soviet republics, with Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia achieving the best results. Belavia was the first airline to restore scheduled operations to Belgrade in May 2020 following the airport’s two-month closure. “Nobody has suggested they (Belavia) were in any way involved in this", IATA Director General Willie Walsh said. "I've made clear that we condemn what the government of Belarus has done. For the hard-working people at the airline, I think you do have to have some sympathy because they didn't do anything, but they are suffering as a result", he added.