На русском языке:
«В Милан через Беларусь за €45 000»: Российский авиаперевозчик обходит запрет на полёты в ЕС, летая через Минск
На беларускай мове: «У Мілан праз Беларусь за €45 000»: Расійскі авіяперавозчык абыходзіць забарону на палёты ў ЕС, лётаючы праз Мінск
On January 21, Russian propaganda, citing its source in the largest operator on the Russian business aviation market Jet Partners, told about the upcoming re-launch of charter business flights on the Moscow-Nice route.
This news was spread on social networks and other Russian media outlets. And probably, the story itself would have remained unnoticed by our editorial team, since getting from Moscow to Europe and back is still no problem, for example:
Flights from Moscow to the EU in December 2022 and January 2023 / motolkohelp
But there are two nuances in the propaganda news worth attention:
- Reference to the Russian air operator;
- Mentioning Minsk as an intermediate stop (supposedly to circumvent the current ban on flights from Russia to Europe).
Screenshot of the news about the new flight / motolko.help
At the moment, there is a directive of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA SD No.: 2021-02), which, after the story with the forced landing of the Ryanair flight FR4978 in Minsk, prohibits European airlines to fly over the territory of Belarus, and Belarusian ones – in Europe.
Directive EASA SD No.: 2021-02 / motolko.help
In addition, since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Russian airlines, as well as aircraft registered in Russia, are prohibited from flying in the European airspace and receiving/providing services there.
In other words, the option of a Russian company finding a European partner or leasing an aircraft from it is too unlikely, for objective reasons.
Then how can such a company circumvent the current restrictions?
It is known that Russian passenger and business carriers began the practice of re-registering their aircraft (which they managed to keep in Russia or in friendly countries at the time the sanctions came into effect) to «Russian numbers.» That is, they were not left without planes and continued to fly. But what about Europe?
They have to come up with new ways to travel by air. For example, they offer services with a transfer through Istanbul. But this greatly increases travel time, and also leads to a change of board at the transit airport. Obviously, businessmen are not used to such inconveniences and are willing to pay for faster and more practical solutions.
We noticed that in 2022, one of the Russian business operators re-registered several of their planes in… Kyrgyzstan. Their new registration numbers are:
- RA-02765 —> EX-88008
- RA-02787 —> EX-88011
- RA-02797 —> EX-88012
Raytheon 390 Premier IA still on Russian registration number RA-02797 / JetPhotos
You may ask, «Why?» It’s simple, the Kyrgyz do not follow the EASA directive unless it directly prohibits Kyrgyz airlines from flying to Europe (and there have been such cases).
Okay, what does Minsk have to do with it?
Technically, the direct route from Moscow to Europe (or, as stated in the original news, directly to Nice) through Belarus is the shortest and fastest. Board a Kyrgyz-registered aircraft in Vnukovo and fly. Why the intermediate landing again?
All three aircraft in the example above are of the same model – Raytheon 390 Premier IA with a maximum non-stop range of about 1,500 km with maximum load. The distance from Moscow to Nice is 2,500 km by air. From Minsk – 1800 km, and most important, the passenger does not have to leave the plane during the stop time.
Thus, if we don’t load such a plane with sanctioned contraband, then landing in Minsk for refueling looks like the best solution at the moment. However, what stops it from registering a bigger business jet in Kyrgyzstan in the future and not stopping in Minsk at all? Anything is possible.
It's only been a week
As it turned out, it only took 7 days for our version to be confirmed.
On January 28, 2023, one of the flights in our list above, Raytheon 390 Premier IA, reg. number EX-88012, flew from Vnukovo Airport in Moscow to Minsk.
Flight of Raytheon 390 Premier IA with reg. number EX-88012 on January 28, 2023. / Flightradar24
Then, after a short stop, flew directly to Nice (France), and from there to Milan. As a result, the route of the passengers on this flight was as follows: Moscow-Minsk-Nice-Milan-Minsk-Moscow.
Flights of Raytheon 390 Premier IA with reg.number EX-88012 on January 28, 2023 / Flightradar24
As a result, we can say the following: a private Russian business aviation company specially re-registered three of its business jets at the end of last year to circumvent restrictions. Now the circumvention of restrictions on flights to the EU has gone even further, so that passengers can travel to Western countries as comfortably as possible – Minsk has been involved in this case. The flights, by the way, were not cheap (to say the least), and were announced to be 45,000 euros only one way.
Probably, there is also a fact of someone’s interest in the operation of such business in Belarus. We just want to note that the three aircraft in our list above were frequent guests of the Business Aviation Center in Minsk both before and after the re-registration.
And yes, as we know from the migration crisis artificially created by the Lukashenka regime in 2021 and still ongoing, Belarus loves to provide questionable intermediary services.