EASA issues Safety Directive calling on Member States to mandate avoidance of Belarus airspace

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued Safety Directive 2021-02, calling on the National Competent Authorities in EASA member states to instruct aircraft operators with their principal place of business in their territories that conducting operations in Belarus airspace (FIR Minsk) is no longer allowed, unless required for safe operations in unforeseen circumstances. 

The safety objective of the SD, which was published in consultation with the EASA Member States and the European Commission, is to reduce the potential risk to passengers and crews that could arise from operations in this airspace. This follows the incident involving Ryanair flight FR4978 on May 23, 2021. The SD will be reviewed as circumstances require and in any case at intervals of no more than one month.  

The NCAs are required to put these measures in place within two days of the effective date of the SD and to inform EASA of the steps taken. 

EASA had earlier issued a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) with respect to operations in Belarus airspace. The SIB has the status of a recommendation directly to operators, whereas the SD recommends mandatory action by the National Competent Authorities for those operators.