Germany-Russia flights to resume after suspension amid Belarus tensions

Flights between Germany and Russia were due to resume on Thursday, German airline Lufthansa told Euronews.

“Russian authorities have issued permission for passenger flights to Russia in June,” Lufthansa said in a statement. “Scheduled Lufthansa flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg can therefore proceed.”

The announcement comes after airline traffic between the two countries was briefly suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday amid a row over Belarus

The ministry of transport in Berlin said earlier on Wednesday that Germany had suspended landings of Russian airlines on its territory because Russia allegedly did not authorise arrivals of Lufthansa flights to its airports.

The tit-for-tat moves came amid tensions between the West and Moscow after Belarus diverted a Ryanair passenger jet — travelling from Greece to Lithuania — to arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich last month.

That prompted European countries to stop using Belarusian airspace.

Moscow, an ally of Minsk, then began refusing to allow Russia-bound flights to be rerouted to avoid Belarus, resulting in cancellations. They included an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna and an Air France flight from Paris.

“Russian aviation authority FATA did not issue approvals on time for Lufthansa flights for the month of June, so Lufthansa flights that were scheduled in the early morning of June 2 had to be cancelled on June 1 in the evening,” Germany’s transport ministry said in a statement to Euronews.

“Due to the practice of reciprocity,” Germany “has not issued any further permits for flights by Russian airlines as long as the permits on the Russian side were pending,” the statement went on.

Russian airline Aeroflot had a total of three cancelled flights on Tuesday and four cancelled flights on Wednesday, the ministry said.

As soon as Russia grants clearance to German flights, Russian airlines landings will also be approved by Germany, the statement added.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency on Wednesday called on the bloc’s national authorities to tell their aircraft operators “that conducting operations in Belarus airspace … is no longer allowed, unless required for safe operations in unforeseen circumstances.”

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