Belarus: Dubai flights operating as normal, flydubai monitoring the situation

Russia says the cancellation of several European flights was a technical error as row over airspace restrictions continue

FILE - In this May 23, 2021, file photo provided by ONLINER.BY, security use a dog to check the luggage of passengers on the Ryanair jet that carried opposition figure Raman Pratasevich, traveling from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania. The plane was diverted to Minsk, Belarus, after Belarusian flight controllers told the crew that there was a bomb threat against the plane. Pratasevich, who ran a channel on a messaging app used to organize demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, left his homeland in 2019 to try to escape the reach of the Belarusian KGB. Pratasevich was arrested upon landing in Minsk and faces 15 years in prison on charges of inciting disturbances. (ONLINER.BY via AP)
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Travelling by air in Europe has become more complicated as the row over Belarusian airspace escalates.

At a time when restrictions already apply for air travel owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, tension between Belarus, Russia and countries across Europe have led to further complications. 
On Friday, Ukraine became the latest country to implement a ban against Belarusian aircraft. From Saturday, Belarus-registered planes are no longer able to fly through Ukrainian airspace, according to the country's infrastructure ministry.

This comes after Ukraine banned flights to and from Belarus on Wednesday, following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania, and the subsequent arrest of a dissident Belarusian journalist on board.

"The government has tightened 'air sanctions' against Belarusian airlines," the ministry said in a statement.

Flydubai flights continue to operate as normal to Belarus. Courtesy Flydubai

From Dubai, low-cost airline flydubai operates direct to the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The airline also operates as Emirates' partner airline on the route. Services have not been affected by the escalating row over airspace.

"Flydubai flies three times a week to Minsk and the service is operating to schedule. We continue to monitor the situation," a representative told The National on Friday.

The news comes as Russia says that its failure to allow several European aircraft to land in Moscow was not because of  a suspension, but for technical reasons.

"Aviation authorities will give the necessary explanations, but these are technical reasons," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reports AFP. He said the measures were taken to ensure aviation safety.

The most recent cancellation took place on Friday morning, when an Air France flight from Paris was cancelled by Russian authorities.

Austrian Airlines and Air France both had cancelled flights on Thursday after Russia withheld clearance over their revised route plans.

Flight maps show airlines avoiding Belarusian airspace

Flight maps show airlines avoiding Belarusian airspace

The European Union has urged airlines to avoid flying over Belarus and has moved to close its own airspace to Belarusian airlines.

On Friday, the head of the International Air Transport Association said that an international investigation into the forced landing of the Ryanair jetliner in Belarus is welcome.

"That sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and must be strongly condemned. We must have measures to ensure that can't happen again," said Willie Walsh, director general of IATA, speaking to Reuters.