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12 July 2021, 15:04

Belarusian ambassador comments on plans to expand Belavia's flight map

MOSCOW, 12 July (BelTA) – Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko spoke about the plans to add new routes to Belavia's flight map in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency, BelTA has learned.

The diplomat noted that in the light of the current flight ban on Belavia by the EU and Ukraine, it has become crucially important to expand the airline's flight map. "Belavia has already increased both the frequency of flights to Istanbul, Tbilisi and Batumi and also the number of charter flights to Egypt and Turkey. Work is in progress to increase the frequency of flights to Kazakhstan,” he said. “In order to meet the needs of people, we are also working to attract more foreign air carriers. Such work is being carried out with the air companies of the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Azerbaijan, and Qatar," Vladimir Semashko said.

According to him, the Kyrgyz airline is expected to open regular flights on the route Bishkek – Minsk - Bishkek soon. “Of course, we are interested in increasing the volume of air traffic with the Russian Federation,” Ambassador Vladimir Semashko emphasized. “We are actively discussing options for increasing the number of flights from Belarus to Russian cities. Belavia is working to launch regular flights to Mineralnye Vody and Anapa, to resume flights to Sochi and Krasnodar. I would like to add that a number of Russian airlines have also increased the number of flights to Belarus. For example, since 10 June, Aeroflot has increased the frequency of flights from Moscow to Minsk from five to ten times a week; UTair now flies to Minsk three times a week (from Samara, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad); Nord Wind airline flies from Kaliningrad to Minsk twice a week."

"We hope for an early positive decision on these new flights from Belarus to Russia by the Russian government operational headquarters [to combat the spread of the new coronavirus infection in Russia]," the ambassador stressed. Vladimir Semashko also expressed hope that Russia, as an ally, will support the Belarusian air carrier Belavia amid the political and economic pressure on Belarus from European countries.

The investigation into the emergency landing of the Ireland's Ryanair aircraft in Minsk has been extended until September, Vladimir Semashko pointed out. “Belarus has provided all the necessary materials and given detailed answers to all questions in a transparent manner,” the ambassador said. “We are not concealing anything. Partners from other countries and the air carrier itself are not as open and avoid answering difficult questions. We are waiting for the conclusion of the ICAO commission set up to look into this case. Belarus hopes for a fair and objective investigation,” he added.

As for the restrictions on entering Russia by land for Belarusians and on leaving the country for Russian citizens, Vladimir Semashko noted that all of them still remain in place. “I would like to point out that Belarus has not introduced any travel restrictions for Russians, including on entering Belarus through international border checkpoints (on the border with Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Ukraine). The development of this situation fully depends on Russia's decisions,” he stressed.

“As for road transportation between Belarus and Russia, Belarus suggests lifting the current restrictions while enforcing sanitary measures. The countries could use the example of preventative and control measures that are in place for passengers of air and railway transport, for example, allowing entrance to arrivals who present the documents stating that they have tested negative, have been vaccinated, or have recovered from COVID-19. We are ready to take further steps and are looking forward to Russia's appropriate decisions,” Vladimir Semashko said.

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