Air France canceled the flight from Moscow after Russia refused to accept the Belarus bypass
Air France canceled the Paris-Moscow flight on Wednesday after Russia approved a new route bypassing Belarus, Reuters reported.
Air France’s AF1154 flight was canceled “for operational reasons related to the bypass of Belarusian airspace, which requires a new permit from the Russian authorities to enter their territory,” an Air France spokesman said.
The European Union has called on its airlines to avoid Belarus and its airspace, outraged on Sunday by a forced landing in Minsk on a Ryanair B737-800 flying to Lithuania from Greece.
Flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was “Belarusian ATC reports possible threat on board” and changed course to “Nearest Airport, Minsk” according to a Ryanair report. Roman Protasevičius, a well-known opposition activist and blogger, was arrested on arrival; allegedly on the instructions of the Belarussian government. Reuters said it was on the wanted list after major demonstrations following last year’s election.
Air France, which provides several weekly flights to Moscow, said it still plans to fly to Moscow next Sunday if Russia approves a flight plan to avoid overcrowding in Belarus.