MOSCOW – Russia’s federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya has told airlines that changes to routes from Europe to Russia due to a political row over Belarus may result in longer clearance times due to more such requests, it said in a statement published on Friday.
The RBC news outlet reported late on Thursday that Russia would allow European flights to arrive and depart via routes that bypass Belarusian airspace despite Moscow previously denying access to two carriers that skirted Belarus en route to Moscow.
Russia on Thursday withheld clearance for an Austrian Airlines Vienna-Moscow flight plan avoiding Belarus – a day after failing to approve a revised Air France AIRF.PA Paris-Moscow route. Both flights were cancelled.
It did allow an Austrian Airlines Vienna-Moscow flight to bypass Belarusian airspace on Friday however, the TASS news agency cited the company as saying, and allowed in other foreign carriers on Thursday.
The European Union has urged its airlines to avoid Belarus and has moved to close its own airspace to Belarusian carriers amid outrage over Sunday’s interception of a Ryanair RYA.I jet en route to Lithuania from Greece, and the arrest of a dissident journalist on board.