Aviation Update: Department of Transportation Bans Passenger Flights to Belarus
On June 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a statement and show-cause order tentatively prohibiting the sale of passenger air transportation between the U.S. and Belarus, subject only to possible exceptions granted for humanitarian or national security-related travel.
DOT's action was taken at the request of the U.S. Department of State following Belarus' controversial interference with a Ryanair flight, which was forced to divert to Minsk, Belarus, on May 23, 2021. Belarussian authorities removed a dissident journalist from the flight, triggering an international outcry.
DOT plans to effectuate the ban by adding a condition to all existing and future U.S. and foreign air carrier certificates, permits and exemptions that would prohibit the sale of passenger flights between the U.S. and Belarus, whether or not the flights are operated directly or indirectly, including flights that would operate nonstop from the U.S. or via an intermediate point. The ban would cover code share services operated via international points. Interested parties have until July 1 to lodge objections on the department's website and searching for Docket ID No. DOT-OST-2021-0074. The prohibition is expected to become final shortly after the issuance of a final order.
For more information about these developments, please contact the authors.