100 EU flights a day rerouted across Baltic states to avoid Belarus airspace

Rerouting will add time and extra fuel to a journey

Around 100 daily EU flights will be redirected across Baltic states to avoid Belarus, the European air traffic control agency said today.

Around 400 flights cross Belarusian airspace every day, including 100 operated by EU or British carriers.

Eurocontrol said it would be best for European carriers to avoid Minsk-controlled airspace following Sunday’s “hijack” of a Ryanair flight, which was forcibly diverted to the Belarusian capital to offload a dissident journalist.

The rerouting of flights across the Baltic states will add time and extra fuel consumption to a journey, Eurocontrol admitted to Reuters, although it said long-haul routes would be less affected.

“If the 100 EU/UK carriers are not able to use Belarus airspace for overflights, they will need on average to fly 40 Nautical Miles further... The most efficient routes for the majority of carriers overflying Belarus will be to re-route through the Baltic States,” it stated.

Belarus is on the most direct track between London and Asian destinations such as Bangkok and Singapore. While the nation’s airspace could normally be avoided, existing “no-fly zones” over eastern Ukraine make routings complicated.

The European Union yesterday urged all carriers based in the bloc to avoid Belarus, following in the footsteps of the UK’s aviation body. Several carriers have already said they would do so, including Poland’s LOT, Finnair, Ukraine International and Air France. Lufthansa said it would cancel all flights to and from Minsk tomorrow and Thursday.

Outside Europe, Singapore Airlines said it would stop flying over Belarus.

Additional reporting by agencies

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