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Belavia lost routes to 21 countries after Ryanair incident — airline

However, there are nine destinations the air carrier can still fly to

MINSK, June 2. /TASS/. Belavia is now unable to operate flights to 21 countries, which have closed their airspace for the Belarusian airline after the incident with the emergency landing of a Ryanair aircraft at Minsk airport. 

"21 countries are a big loss for the company, but the Belavia team is working hard to cope with it," the carrier said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Last week, Belavia suspended flights to Lithuania, the UK, France, Ukraine, Latvia, Finland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Russian Kaliningrad, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia and Cyprus.

However, there are nine destinations the air carrier can still fly to.

"The countries where Belavia can fly to are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates," the company says.

The airline stressed that it "had no influence on the current situation," and right now its specialists are working on finding new destinations and adjusting routes.

A passenger jet belonging to Ryanair, an Irish low-cost airline, performing a flight from Athens to Vilnius on May 23 was forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a bomb threat on board the plane had been reported. A MiG-29 fighter jet was dispatched to escort the airliner into Minsk.

A subsequent search after the aircraft had touched down in the Belarusian capital failed to find any information confirming the bomb scare. The Belarusian Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe into a hoax bomb threat.

After the plane landed in Minsk, the Belarusian law enforcement agencies detained Roman Protasevich, wanted in Belarus as a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel deemed extremist, and Russian citizen Sofia Sapega, who was flying with him.

After the incident with the Ryanair aircraft, the EU summit decided to ban Belarusian airlines from flying to EU airports and from flying over the territory of the European Union. It also recommended that European carriers refuse to fly in the airspace of Belarus. A number of countries have closed their airspace to the Belarusian air carrier. The Belarusian authorities said that amid the closure of the airspace of several Western countries for Belarus, Belavia would try to compensate for this by increasing the number of flights to the CIS, and especially to the Russian Federation.