U.S. banning Belarus air ticket sales

The Transportation Department has proposed a prohibition on all air tickets sales for itineraries between the U.S. and Belarus.

The move follows Belarus’ forced landing of a May 23 Ryanair flight that was overflying the Eastern European nation en route to Vilnius, Lithuania, from Athens. Upon the flight’s landing in the Belarus capital of Minsk at the demand of the Belarus Air Force, authorities detained dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, who is an opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.

Under the proposed DOT order, both domestic and foreign airlines would be prohibited from selling U.S.-Belarus itineraries. The order would also apply to interline ticket sales. Interested parties have until July 1 to offer public comment on the proposal, prior to the DOT’s issue of a final order.

The EU has already banned Belarusian flag carrier Belavia from the airspace of EU countries and is requiring EU-based airlines to avoid Belarusian skies.

Earlier this week the EU placed new economic sanctions on Belarus due to the Ryanair incident.

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