Airbaltic to escape Belarusian space after the arrest of rival Roman Protasevich

Airbaltic to escape Belarusian space after the arrest of rival Roman Protasevich

(AFP)

Latvia-based regional airline Airbaltic will survive Belarusian airspace as the country forced a Ryanair flight to Vilnius to arrest a blogger and rival on the plane.

After Sunday’s incident, Airbaltic has decided to “avoid entering Belarusian airspace until the situation is clear or a decision has been issued by the authorities,” the company said in a press release.

“The safety and health of our passengers and our employees is the main priority of the airline”, specifies the text, stating that the carrier “will follow the situation closely”.

The airline said that, following a recommendation from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, so far two of its flights – to Ukraine and Georgia – have been re-routed to avoid Belarusian airspace.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is “closely monitoring the situation from a security standpoint” and on Sunday approached air officials from 27 member states “to get their attention”, a Cologne spokesman announced based Agency Janet Northcott.

“It was recommended that airline authorities pass this information on to airlines so that they can integrate it into their risk assessment process,” the spokesperson said.

Lithuania and Latvia on Sunday called all international flights to escape Belarusian airspace as a restriction against authorities in that country.

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