Hungarian airspace busier since Belarus incident

Transport

The European Council's recommendation regarding issued on Monday also has an impact on the number of flights passing through Hungarian airspace, according to HungaroControl. Following the Belarus flight diversion incident, the body called on EU airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace for the safety of passengers. 

After an extraordinary European Council meeting on Monday, several airlines announced the cancellation of their flights to Minsk and alternative routes for planes flying over Belarusian airspace. As a result of these events, air traffic from EU Member States to Minsk has virtually ceased, and traffic diversion has begun in the region. The change in flight routes is also reflected in the increase in the number of overflights managed by HungaroControl. 

The domestic air traffic service says that it is prepared to handle the increased aircraft movements. This does not mean any additional workload for the specialist staff, as air traffic is still significantly below the record 2019 figures due to the coronavirus epidemic.

According to a report by The Telegraph, European governments accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko of "state terrorism" and "hijacking" after he sent a fighter jet to force a Ryanair flight to make an emergency landing apparently so he could arrest an exiled opposition journalist last week. Minsk airport said the flight was forced to land because of a bomb threat. No bomb was found when the plane was searched, but Belarusian officials took the opportunity to arrest Roman Protasevich, a founder and editor of Nexta, a social media channel that reported on mass protests that broke out last summer against Lukashenko.

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