Ryanair says Belarusian airspace ban is not long term solution after plane "piracy"



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft approaches Paris-Beauvais airport in Tille, northern France, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

LONDON (Reuters) – Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said that he did not support a ban on Belarusian airspace in the long term and called on international authorities to restore unrestricted access to airways as soon as possible.

Belarus scrambled a fighter jet on May 23 and flagged what turned out to be a false bomb alert to force a Ryanair plane to land in Minsk, then detained a dissident journalist who was on board, drawing international condemnation.

O’Leary told a British parliamentary committee that while he supported the short-term ban on Belarusian airspace, the aviation industry depends on unrestricted access to all airspace and this must be restored.

“We need to have an outcome where the European and the UK authorities, hopefully assisted by international partners, received appropriate assurances from the Belarusian, and or Russian authorities, that this will never happen again,” he said on Tuesday.

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