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Flights from the Middle East to Minsk doubled

The number of direct flights from the Near and Middle East to Belarus' capital Minsk has increased significantly this year.

Berlin / Minsk - This is what Die Tageszeitung (taz) writes, citing its own analysis of flight data. Accordingly, on average, more than twice as many aircraft landed in the Belarusian capital in the past few months as in the pre-Corona year 2019. From the beginning of July to November 10, a total of at least 625 aircraft came from the asylum-origin or Transit countries Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey in Minsk. On average, that's just under five aircraft a day with a total capacity of around 900 passengers.

Over half of the flights were connections from Istanbul, writes the newspaper. The second most common starting point was Dubai. 159 planes took off here in the direction of Minsk.

As hubs, Dubai and Istanbul are comparatively easy to reach from the typical countries of origin, writes the newspaper. The state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia has expanded its range in particular. The airline has flown 26 times from the Lebanese capital Beirut to Minsk since the beginning of July.

That is eleven times more often than in the six months before. It doubled the flight frequency from Istanbul and increased the number of flights from Dubai by fifty percent. According to the data analysis of taz, international scheduled airlines such as Turkish Airlines have also created additional connections due to the increased demand.

There are also charter flights from Syria and, in the meantime, from Iraq, until these were stopped in August at the urging of the EU. After the EU had tightened its sanctions against Belarus in June for dealing with the opposition, the ruler Alexander Lukashenko terminated cooperation on border security with Poland. Since then, large numbers of refugees from the Near and Middle East have come to Poland via Minsk. Most of them want to travel on to western EU countries such as Germany or France, and the Belarusian government is evidently promoting this in a targeted manner.

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