FILE PHOTO: Airport personnel and safety forces are seen on the tarmac in entrance of a Ryanair flight which was compelled to land in Minsk, Belarus, Could 23, 2021. Handout through REUTERS
Could 28, 2021
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Belarusian air site visitors management refused a request by a Ryanair pilot to contact the airline after being instructed of an alleged bomb menace, leaving him with no various however to land in Minsk, the Irish service mentioned in a letter seen by Reuters.
Belarus scrambled a warplane on Sunday and used the bomb alert, which turned out to be fictitious, to divert the flight, which was en route from Greece to Lithuania. When it landed in Minsk, a dissident journalist and his girlfriend had been arrested.
In a letter to the Belarus transport ministry dated Could 26, Ryanair Chief Govt described earlier correspondence from Belarusian officers as “false and inaccurate” and mentioned the aircraft had been “unlawfully diverted beneath false pretences”.
“The pilot in command was left with no various however to divert to Minsk, when he was suggested by Minsk ATC (Air Visitors Management) that there was a reputable bomb menace to the plane, but Minsk ATC refused to contact Ryanair, falsely claimed that Ryanair Ops wouldn’t reply the telephone,” the letter mentioned.
The pilot repeatedly requested details about the alleged bomb menace earlier than in the end agreeing to land in Minsk, in response to a transcript launched on Tuesday by authorities in Belarus.
Ryanair didn’t reply to an emailed request for remark.
Western international locations have described the incident, which triggered swift European Union sanctions and an investigation, as a hijacking or air piracy.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Enhancing by Kevin Liffey)