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MINSK, April 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarus will insist on equal terms of air service between Moscow and Minsk, Igor Cherginets, a deputy director general of Belarus’ national airlines Belavia, told Itar-Tass on Friday, ahead of Belarusian-Russian talks on the issue due in Minsk on April 9.
“The intergovernmental agreement on air service between the two countries provides for equal and fair possibilities for airlines of both countries. We want the two partners to reach a compromise based on the idea of equal conditions for both of them,” he said and added he hoped the sides would finally settle the dispute.
Although, he noted, if Russia ultimately bans Belavia’s flights to Russian regions, the Belarusian side might reduce the number of flights between Minsk and Moscow. “We are looking at reducing the number of daily flights between Moscow and Minsk to two for each side,” he said and added that Belarus will permit to make these flights to its Belavia and Russia’s Sibir and UTair, while Aeroflot will be prohibited to make flights to Minsk. In his words, Russia banned Belavia from making flights to Russian regions to meet Aeroflot’s interests.
“Anyway, we will find a way out of the situation,” he stressed.
He also said, the actions of Russia’s air transport authorities are illegal and the Belarusian side might file a lawsuit. “The Russian air transport authorities first revoked the Belarusian air company’s license to make flights between Minsk and Moscow, which is illegal, and then they prohibited Belavia to make flights to Russian regions starting from April 13. This is a recurring breach of the law,” Cherginets said.
Meanwhile, Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kalinin confirmed that a delegation from the Russian transport ministry will arrive in Minsk on April 9 to seek a settlement to the dispute. “I hope we will reach a mutually acceptable compromise,” he said.
On March 26, air service between Minsk and Moscow was unexpectedly disrupted. Belavia put the blame on Russia’s air transport authorities that had revoked Belavia’s license. The dispute stemmed from disagreement about the air flights schedule for the summer of 2012.
On the same day, the sides reached a temporary agreement to resume air service. The Belarusian side agreed to a compromise solution and issued a temporary permit to make five daily flights. Negotiations between the sides are underway.