May 28, 2021 - World

FAA: Airlines should use "extreme caution" flying over Belarus

Ryanair in Frankfurt
An aircraft of the Belarusian airline Belavia touches down at Frankfurt Airport on May 26. Photo: Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday advised U.S. passenger airlines to "exercise extreme caution" when flying over Belarus.

Driving the news: The European Council called for an independent investigation into the country's diversion of a flight to arrest an opposition leader and advised EU-based carriers to avoid the airspace. President Biden said Monday his administration is coordinating with the EU on a response.

  • The FAA's said Friday that the agency was "working closely with other U.S. agencies to determine whether any additional measures may be necessary, and will evaluate an international investigation report to determine the risks for U.S. passenger airlines flying in that area," Reuters wrote.
  • The Friday notice does not apply to cargo carriers like UPS, which have flight paths over Belarus.

Context: Russia on Thursday blocked at least two European planes from landing in Moscow because they were attempting to avoid Belarusian airspace.

  • The need to reroute flights through Russia is one of the reasons the FAA stopped short of issuing a formal order or suggesting that American passenger airlines cancel flights over Belarus, Reuters reports.
  • The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich, but has not criticized the move by Aleksandr Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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