Airspace Ban Imposed on Belarus Leads to Higher CO2 Emissions

Detours taken by airlines to avoid entering Belarusian airspace following the forced landing of a Ryanair jet are responsible for around an extra 250,000 kg of CO2 emissions per day, air traffic management estimates show.

On average, EU and UK carriers must fly 40 nautical miles more to adhere to EU sanctions against Belarus, with most re-routing through the Baltic states.

Prior to the ban, around 300 flights crossed Belarus daily, with roughly 100 of those operated by EU or British carriers.

Air traffic management agency Eurocontrol estimates that around an additional 79,000 kg of fuel is burned each day due to the rerouting. The release of Nitrogen Oxides, pollutants that contribute to smog and acid rain, is boosted by around 1,200 kg.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), an EU regulatory body, issued a recommendation Tuesday (25 May) that flight operators avoid Belarusian airspace.

"The circumstances surrounding this [forced landing] cast serious doubts on the respect shown by Belarus for international civil aviation rules," states the EASA safety bulletin.

This follows last Monday's (24 May) European Council Summit conclusions, which called for "all EU-based carriers to avoid overflight of Belarus".

On 23 May, Belarusian air traffic control operators used claims of a bomb threat to reroute a Ryanair passenger flight bound for Vilnius to Minsk airport. Upon landing, security forces detained two passengers wanted by Belarusian authorities - the dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega.

The incident provoked outrage among EU leaders, who have since imposed a raft of sanctions on the former-Soviet nation.

Impact on airlines

The swiftly...

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