Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Avoid overflying Belarus airspace, India ‘cautions’ its airlines

New Delhi: India on Wednesday “cautioned” its airlines to avoid overflying Belarus while operating to and from Europe, UK and North America.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also asked airlines to carry extra fuel on these flights to factor in any “last-minute re-routing” in case their routings involve flying through Belarus airspace.

Indian aviation regulator’s ‘caution' came on the heels of its European counterpart advising both EU and non-EU airlines to avoid Belarus airspace except in emergencies.

A senior DGCA official said: “Yes, we have also cautioned them (Indian carriers).”

The regulator has asked scheduled Indian airlines to “monitor the situation, as some (foreign) airlines have started re-routing their flights to avoid the (Belarus) airspace. Please ensure fuel planning should take into account a last moment re-route, in case overflying Belarus airspace.”

Air India and Vistara have regular passenger flights to the west.

A spokesperson of Vistara, which flies to UK and Europe, said: “We don’t use Belarus route for our flights to London and Frankfurt. Vistara had not been using that route.”

Comments were sought from AI, which operates to and from Europe, UK and North America, on whether it is now avoiding Belarus airspace, and awaited till the time of going to press.

AI pilots say the airline started “closely monitoring (the Belarus situation) from Tuesday” but as of now is not avoiding overflying that country’s airspace.

26/05/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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