Russian aviation authorities have refused to allow two Air France flights from Paris to Moscow to depart. Air France wanted to change the flight route to avoid flying over Belarus for political reasons.
But the permission was not forthcoming. The flights have therefore been cancelled. Air France flies to Moscow once or twice a day.
A Ryanair plane en route from Greece to Lithuania was forced to land over Belarus on May 23, and authorities in Minsk removed a Belarusian dissident from the aircraft. It sparked outrage in the West. European countries do not want to fly over Belarus.
Moscow supports the government in Minsk and last week refused to allow an Air France aircraft and an Austrian aircraft to travel to Russia by another route. The Russian authorities have not said that this has anything to do with European policy towards Belarus. They talked about technical issues.
Just before the weekend, the problem seemed to disappear from the world. The Russian aviation authorities agreed to changed flight routes of Air France and Lufthansa over the weekend. Lufthansa was authorized for flight changes from Frankfurt to Moscow and St Petersburg “for the foreseeable future”.
The airline has four return flights a week to Moscow and three to Saint Petersburg. As far as is known, KLM has not had any problems with it and flies an average of fifteen times a day through Russian airspace.