FACTBOX-Airlines halt flights over Belarus after Ryanair plane incident

(Adds Smartwings)

May 26 (Reuters) - European Union leaders have called for Belarusian airlines to be banned from the 27-nation bloc’s airspace and urged EU-based carriers to avoid flying over the former Soviet republic.

The decision came after Belarus forced a Ryanair plane to land in Minsk on a Greece-Lithuania flight on Sunday and detained a dissident journalist on arrival.

Following are reactions from airlines:


The head of the Middle East budget carrier said on Tuesday he hoped the Belarus incident was a one-off and would not have repercussions for the industry.


Latvian airline airBaltic on Tuesday suspended all flights from Riga to Minsk from Thursday until further notice. It had planned up to three weekly flights between the cities until late October.


Air France halted flights over Belarus on Tuesday after EU leaders announced plans to bar European carriers from the country’s airspace.

Its Dutch stablemate KLM stopped flying over Belarus on Monday.


Finland’s flag carrier said on Tuesday it would stop using Belarusian airspace, a decision that will affect three flights a week.


Poland’s LOT will not fly in Belarus airspace and has suspended flights to the capital Minsk, it said on Tuesday.


Germany’s Lufthansa, which on Monday halted flights over Belarus until further notice, late on Tuesday cancelled all flights from Frankfurt to Minsk until and including June 3.


Ryanair said on Tuesday no flights were planned to fly over Belarus airspace.


The Scandinavian airline SAS, which flies twice a week between Oslo and Kyiv, said on Monday it would avoid Belarusian airspace.


Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday it would re-route its flights to Europe to avoid Belarusian airspace.


Czech airline group Smartwings said on Wednesday it would avoid Belarus airspace on its flights to and from Moscow.

Reporting by Milla Nissi and Aleksandra Jasiurska; editing by Jason Neely