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MINSK, March 29 (Itar-Tass) — The delegation of the Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus on Thursday will fly to Moscow for talks on the issue of air service between the two states’ capitals.
According to Deputy Director General of the Belavia air carrier Igor Cherginets, the Russian side proposes to discuss three issues: the lifting of restrictions on the sortie rate, on the number of designated airlines, as well as on capacity.
On Monday, flights between Minsk and Moscow were suspended. This was done because the Russian side withdrew the flight permission from the Belavia air carrier. In response, the Belarusian side took the same measures against Russian airlines. The dispute arose over the sortie rate for the Summer 2012 season.
Cherginets said earlier that under Russian-Belarusian agreements, Moscow and Minsk make flights on a parity basis. “The Russian side insisted on five flights despite the fact that it exceeds the number of flights performed by the Belarusian side,” he said. Apart from that, if more flights are allowed between the two capitals, their efficiency will go down. In his words, only 55 percent of seats onboard planes making flights between Russia and Belarus are occupied and airlines’ losses will inevitably increase in case more flights are added.
Belavia Director General Anatoly Gusarov said that the Belarusian side is ready to negotiate with the Russian aviation authorities, but considers the conditions put forward by the Russian colleagues as unacceptable. “The conditions that are dictated to us by the Russian side, are unacceptable, as in the first place they form unhealthy competition on the market, which ousts the other market players, which will ultimately affect the interests of passengers,” the Belavia chief said in a statement released on the eve of the trip.