Transport

Belarusian plane turns back after warning about French airspace

FILE PHOTO - A wing of a plane of Belavia company is seen over clouds near Minsk, Belarus, July 19, 2016. REUTERS-Gleb Garanich

A Belarusian passenger plane flying from Minsk to Barcelona turned back on Wednesday, data from website Flightradar24 showed, after Poland said it may not be able to enter French airspace.

European Union leaders have directed officials to draw up new sanctions against Belarus and work out a way to ban Belarusian airlines from the bloc’s skies after a Ryanair flight carrying a dissident journalist was forced to land in Minsk.

Belarusian state carrier Belavia flight 2869 from Minsk had been scheduled to land in Barcelona on Wednesday afternoon.

“This pilot received information from us that the French airspace was blocked … and he may have a problem with entering,” Polish Air Navigation Services Agency spokesman Pawel Lukasiewicz said by telephone.

Belavia declined immediate comment on the flight.

French Junior Minister for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Monday that France had suspended the authorisation for Belavia flights to cross its territory.

Belavia says it has been banned from flying to Lithuania, Latvia, France, Sweden, Britain, Finland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

Poland currently allows Belavia flights to enter its airspace. A Belavia flight from Minsk to Warsaw landed in the Polish capital at 1220 GMT on Wednesday, according to the website of the city’s Chopin Airport.

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