Brussels has banned Belarusian airlines from flying over the EU”s airspace or using its airports following Minsk’s move to divert a Ryanair passenger plane and arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich last month.
EU headquarters said member countries will “be required to deny Belarusian carriers permission to land in, take off from or fly over their territories.
Belarusian national carrier Belavia runs flights linking Belarus with some 20 airports in Europe including Paris and Berlin.
Economic sanctions were announced by EU leaders shortly after the incident that led to the arrest of Protasevich.
Belarus’ international isolation has deepened since the May 23 incident, in which Belarusian flight controllers told the crew of a Ryanair jet of an alleged bomb threat. They also instructed them to land in Minsk, where journalist Raman Pratasevich was pulled off the plane by authorities.
Further sanctions targeting key Belarusian industries are expected to be discussed at next week’s G7 summit in the UK.
The flight ban is set to come into effect on Saturday (June 5).