Moscow-Minsk Flights Resumed After Slots Dispute

Russia and Belarus briefly suspended flights between the two countries for several hours on Monday morning in a row over the number of flights between Moscow and Minsk, before agreeing to stick to the current agreement until March 29.

“We have given a license … until Thursday. After that there will be talks,” Belarusian airline Belavia’s Deputy General Director Igor Cherginets said.

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot told RIA Novosti it had received a temporary license from the Belarusian aviation authorities to continue the current number of flights until Thursday. Russian airlines S7 and UTair also received clearance on Monday to fly to Belarus.

Belarusian news agency Belta said the national air carrier Belavia had its license revoked by the Russian authorities first, causing the 07:00 Moscow flight from Minsk to be suspended. Minsk immediately retaliated with a similar ban on all Russian airlines.

Cherginets said Russian airlines wanted to increase the number of flights between Moscow and Minsk to drive out Belavia.

Under the previously approved schedule, Russian airlines had permission to operate four flights between the two capitals a day alongside Belavia, but S7 plans to start a daily flight between the two cities from this Monday.

“Our aviation authorities said that could not be, Cherginets said. “Nevertheless the Russian party insisted on performing five flights a day,” Cherginets said.

Belavia flights to other Russian cities such as St Petersburg and Kaliningrad were not cancelled or suspended.

Aeroflot also said it informed passengers about the temporary suspension and said they would have their fares refunded. Cherginets said his airline was ready to compensate passengers for any losses because of the incident.


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