Air France canceled a Paris-Moscow flight on Wednesday after Russia did not approve a new route bypassing Belarus, Reuters reported.
Air France flight AF1154 was canceled “for operational reasons linked to bypassing Belarusian airspace, requiring a new authorization from the Russian authorities to enter their territory,” said an Air France spokesperson.
The European Union has urged its airlines to avoid Belarus and its airspace amid outrage over the forced landing on Sunday in Minsk of a Ryanair B737-800 plane en route to Lithuania from Greece.
Flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was “Notified by Belarusian ATC of a potential risk of threat on board” and changed course to “Nearest airport, Minsk” according to a statement from Ryanair. Roman Protasevich, a famous opposition activist and blogger, was arrested on his arrival; allegedly under the instructions of the Belarusian government. Reuters reported he was on a wanted list following large protests after last year’s election.
Air France, which operates several weekly routes to Moscow, said it still plans to make its next scheduled flight to Moscow on Friday, subject to Russia’s approval of a flight plan that would allow it to avoid to fly over Belarus.