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Government’s ban on flights to Lithuania crossing Belarus’s airspace

Date

2021 05 24

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In response to the unprecedented Belarus’s attack by the forced landing of a civilian aircraft on an international route to Vilnius on Sunday, Lithuania has recognised this country as unsafe for Lithuanian citizens and has banned flights to/from Lithuania crossing the territory of this country. This decision was made by the Lithuanian Government on Monday on the recommendation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

‘The safety of all air passengers is a top priority.  Yesterday’s incident involving a civilian aircraft on an international route was an unprecedented event in the history of the European Union airspace, which forcibly involved dozens of EU citizens, children and families.  To ensure the safety of Lithuanian citizens, air carriers flying to/from Lithuania will have to reroute their flights to avoid the airspace of Belarus’, says the Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis.

Air carriers arriving in and departing from Lithuania will be sent on Tuesday a special notice informing them that arrivals/departures to/from the Lithuanian airports will be banned for flights crossing the airspace of Belarus.  This ban will take effect at 3 a.m. on Tuesday.  Should air carriers dismiss this decision, flight plans will not be coordinated.

26 flights from/to Lithuania per day will be affected as a result of this requirement.

According to the ministry, some airlines already rerouted their flights to avoid crossing Belarus right after the incident last night.

The ministry is also convening a meeting of the National Civil Aviation Security Commission later today. Representatives of the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration, the State Security Department, the Ministry of the Interior, the Air Force, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Public Security Service, the Police Department, the Customs and the State Border Guard Service are to participate in the meeting of the Commission led by by the Minister for Transport and Communications Skuodis.  The Commission will discuss the situation and the actions to be taken.

As a result of the growing threat to the safety and life of individuals, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a strong warning against going to Belarus and has urged the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania that are currently in Belarus to leave the country immediately.