A Ryanair flight FR4978 flying from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania has been forced to land in Minsk, Belarus in what media describe “hijacking of passenger plane”.
In a statement, Ryanair said that the crew had been “notified by Belarus (Air Traffic Control) of a potential security threat on board and were instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk”. The fighter jets intercepted Ryanair aircraft and signaled to the crew to follow them to Minsk.
Flightradar24 website flight route shows that the aircraft was nearer to Vilnius than Minsk when it diverted. Ryanair said that security checks in Minsk airport have not found any bomb threat or other security threat and the aircraft left Minsk at 20:50 local time.
“We apologise sincerely to all affected passengers for this regrettable delay which was outside Ryanair’s control,” it added.
The media accused Belarus for forcing the plane to land at Minsk airport in order to arrest Belarusian journalist, Mr Roman Protasevich.
Numerous others European airlines decided to ban their flights from flying over Belarusian airspace as it poses a threat/risk to their passengers and aircraft.