Russia, Belarus Agree on Number of Minsk Flights

Russia and Belarus have agreed that each country will perform five Moscow-Minsk flights a day, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kalinin said on Monday.

“We’ve reached an agreement to lift all difficulties and in the summer period each party will perform five flights,” Kalinin said, adding that the agreement will come into force on April 27.

Russia and Belarus have been involved in a dispute concerning the number of flights that air carriers from both states are allowed to perform.

On April 5, Belarusian national airline Belavia said it was barred from flying to all destinations in Russia except for Moscow starting from April 13.

Russia and Belarus are bound by an agreement which stipulates parity in the number of flights made by airlines from both countries. Flights to Moscow are performed by the Belarusian air carrier Belavia. Until recently, Russian airlines had permission to operate four flights a day between the two capitals alongside Belavia.

In late March, Minsk and Moscow became embroiled in a row sparked by S7 airline’s intention to operate one flight a day to Minsk. Belarus agreed but in return demanded Russian flagship Aeroflot remove one flight a day from its schedule.

The countries failed to settle the dispute quickly and on March 26 air links between the two ex-Soviet republics were suspended. Russia revoked Belavia’s flight authorization and Minsk immediately retaliated with a similar ban on all Russian airlines.

On the same day, Russia and Belarus agreed on a resumption of flights for several days, subsequently until May 10. Both sides want to continue negotiations.

The Russian airlines have already received warnings from the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) and the Transportation Ministry that only four flights will be made by both sides a day from April 13.

The Russian ministry expressed surprise at Belarus’ actions, saying a preliminary agreement between the sides included permission to make five flights a day, adding that it “regrets that the restriction is being introduced on the eve of Victory Day” when veterans travel to memorial sites.

Russia previously offered to lift all restrictions on the frequency of flights, a proposal rejected by Belarus, which insists that its national airlines may suffer from the dominance of Russian airlines.


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