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Vasu
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Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:50 pm

Hi all,

Quick question: Does anyone know why so many Belavia flights are still operating? I know Belarus isn’t really having any sort of lockdown but with most other countries in lockdown mode and citizens unable to travel, I wonder who is actually on these planes? My first thought was cargo, but we don’t see much in the way of Belarusian products for sale in the UK...

Today, for example, flights operated from Minsk to destinations including London, Paris, Amsterdam and Munich. Why?
 
PANAMsterdam
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:55 pm

Because their super democratically elected president believes you can stop corona by drinking wodka. No lockdown, no social distancing, so why stop flying?
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
SueD
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:23 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
Because their super democratically elected president believes you can stop corona by drinking wodka. No lockdown, no social distancing, so why stop flying?

This !

Belarus is the last bastion of the Soviet empire !
 
dfw88
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:26 pm

What the other posters have said is correct. I just figured I'd add a link to a news story about Belarus's response:
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/31/coronavirus-belarus-urges-citizens-to-drink-vodka-visit-saunas.html
 
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OA260
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:59 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
Because their super democratically elected president believes you can stop corona by drinking wodka. No lockdown, no social distancing, so why stop flying?


Correct although even more stupid are the countries allowing these flights land.
 
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Vasu
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:03 pm

OA260 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
Because their super democratically elected president believes you can stop corona by drinking wodka. No lockdown, no social distancing, so why stop flying?


Correct although even more stupid are the countries allowing these flights land.


I guess they can’t technically stop them if the airports are open and they’re paying the fees. I just wondered if there was anything more to these flights than just National pride? Or I wondered if there is some important cargo I hadn’t taken into consideration. In the UK sales of vodka have shot up - maybe we needed some urgent supplies from Minsk!

Having been to Belarus last year, it is indeed a fascinating place. I just couldn’t work out the logic behind these flights operating.
 
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SR380
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:34 am

Talking about Belavia, did they ever envision to enter (again) the long haul market from Minsk. They actually use to lease an Il-86 for charter flights to the US and China. What is the most popular destination from Minsk and where do passengers connect usually?
 
Blerg
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:13 am

SR380 wrote:
Talking about Belavia, did they ever envision to enter (again) the long haul market from Minsk. They actually use to lease an Il-86 for charter flights to the US and China. What is the most popular destination from Minsk and where do passengers connect usually?


Belavia seems to be one of those airlines that are growing quietly without much PR or fanfare. Some years ago they quietly re-branded (today they have a gorgeous livery), modernized their fleet by introducing B738s and Embraer jets and they reinforced some key markets.

Today they are positioning themselves as the airline that links western, central and eastern Europe with what used to be the Soviet Union. If I remember correctly this year they are introducing their third destination in Kazakhstan. They are also quite big in Russia because all flights from Minsk are considered domestic flights so no passport control upon arrival.

In a way, their biggest competitor is airBaltic. Not only are they geographically close but they seem to be going after the same markets. The ongoing situation in Ukraine has allowed B2 to thrive as not only have they become the airline of choice for those travelling from Russia to Ukraine, but they are also massively profiting from PS not being able to overfly or fly into Russia.

Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.
 
PANAMsterdam
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:44 am

OA260 wrote:
PANAMsterdam wrote:
Because their super democratically elected president believes you can stop corona by drinking wodka. No lockdown, no social distancing, so why stop flying?


Correct although even more stupid are the countries allowing these flights land.



Well with the current crisis, i think European Airports would even allow Air Koryo to land to keep those sweet sweet landing fees coming :lol:
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
Toinou
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:08 am

Blerg wrote:
Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.

Please excuse my lack of culture but, besides being clean, what is there to see in Minsk? (Not mocking, this is a genuine question.)
 
traveller79
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:34 am

Blerg wrote:
They are also quite big in Russia because all flights from Minsk are considered domestic flights so no passport control upon arrival.


Actually there's passport control when entering Russia from Minsk by plane. What is missing is CUSTOMS control as both countries are in the same customs union. Also, there is no passport control entering TO or leaving FROM Belarus when travelling between these two countries.
 
Blerg
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:42 am

Toinou wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.

Please excuse my lack of culture but, besides being clean, what is there to see in Minsk? (Not mocking, this is a genuine question.)


Minsk was more or less destroyed in WW2 so there isn't much left. It's one of those two day destinations that are perfect for an extended weekend. There are a few museums, nice parks, interensting architecture and so on.
 
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lugie
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:51 am

Vasu wrote:

I guess they can’t technically stop them if the airports are open and they’re paying the fees. I just wondered if there was anything more to these flights than just National pride? Or I wondered if there is some important cargo I hadn’t taken into consideration. In the UK sales of vodka have shot up - maybe we needed some urgent supplies from Minsk!



I'm pretty sure they could, as various countries have, over the course of this crisis, ordered flights from countries like China, Iran or other hard hit areas to cease.

Right now, despite the carelessness of the Belorussian dictator, it doesn't appear that the country is a hotbed of the virus (yet) - although that might just be due to information being suppressed.
However, I would hope that at least once Western European countries start getting their situation under control, they ban flights from countries that refuse to take any measures (besides vodka and saunas) to curb the spread.

I wouldn't want to be forced to go back under lockdown once it's over just because Belavia continued to operate its regular schedule from a country with high COVID activity because of "national pride".
Q400 E175 E190 CRJ7 CRJ9 CRJX MD88 A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A359 B733 B73G B738 B739 B748 B764 B772 B77W B788 B789
FRA STR HAM TXL MUC ZRH ACE BRU BLL DUB MAN ARN MAD OPO LIS FNC AMS PHL RDU LGA CLT EWR ORD ATL SFO MDW IAD YYZ SJO PTY
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:59 am

Toinou wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.

Please excuse my lack of culture but, besides being clean, what is there to see in Minsk? (Not mocking, this is a genuine question.)


Try this
https://www.inyourpocket.com/minsk
 
Jomar777
Posts: 552
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:17 am

Not wanting to defend a clearly un-democratic government as a whole but people does seem to forget that SWEDEN is not (and never been...) on lockdown. Yet people do not say much about them neither about Trumps ideas for the US which (thankfully...) are countered by their State Governors (US is a Federative Country).
The fact is that , like Sweden, Belarus does not believe in lockdown and I cannot blame them as much as I do not blame Sweden.
Flights from Belavia? Who's accepting them? Does not make much sense to keep flying if destination airports are shut UNLESS they are mainly cargo related flights (ordinary passenger flights carrying more cargo). Apart form this, they might be flying empty just to keep their slots (do not know if the EU-wide agreement on this would care to cover Belarus for that matter).
In regards to Minsk, it is a beautiful city with museums and parks. People also tend to go around the area to see the forest and the castle (guess about 60 miles from Minsk). People tend to also use the opportunity to see how a truly (old and odd) Soviet City was ran since it did not change much since the fall of the USSR contrary to Moscow which became much more capitalist.
I would give it a long weekend (once COVID19 is gone) - Friday to Sunday/Monday kid of thing.
 
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Vasu
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:22 am

Toinou wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.

Please excuse my lack of culture but, besides being clean, what is there to see in Minsk? (Not mocking, this is a genuine question.)


Depending on what you like there’s plenty to see/do for a few days. I went with a stag group so we mostly drank and shot machine guns. I would definitely go back, but the wife doesn’t say it’s somewhere she would fancy.

Of course, if you visit Minsk you can feel like the scientist from Friends because so many of your stories start with “When I was in Minsk...”

Belavia was a brilliant airline, even for the short hop across to Minsk from Vilnius and back. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again in the future when COVID is gone.
 
jghealey
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:58 am

The larger capitals maybe, but there is literally no sense in keeping flights to smaller destinations like GVA going (which was operating last week). Using the CRJ200LR so probably very little cargo, and presumably very few passengers. Surely there is a clear line between promoting national pride/making a statement and economics? No one is going to notice if or not a flight to GVA operates. If there are no passengers, it overwhelmingly makes sense to cancel the flights, especially to smaller destinations, even for a less democratic government.
 
alm1
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:17 am

jghealey wrote:
The larger capitals maybe, but there is literally no sense in keeping flights to smaller destinations like GVA going (which was operating last week). Using the CRJ200LR so probably very little cargo, and presumably very few passengers. Surely there is a clear line between promoting national pride/making a statement and economics? No one is going to notice if or not a flight to GVA operates. If there are no passengers, it overwhelmingly makes sense to cancel the flights, especially to smaller destinations, even for a less democratic government.


There is still some demand and very little competition. Last flights Minsk-Vilnius were quite full before Lithuania decided to ban them because that was the only scheduled option left to fly to Lithuania and was widely used by Lithuanians still returning from other continents. Even now Belavia is still the only option to return - fly to Minsk and drive to border (although at the moment one must drive to Latvia first as direct land border is closed as well).
 
SueD
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:20 am

Geneva flight would have a significant - political and diplomatic element - Those dodgy diplomatic bags and mail gotta be delivered sorted and sent on the comrade Putin somehow !
 
Toinou
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:29 am

From your answer, I feel like developing significant tourism in Minsk will not be the easiest thing.
I can get the idea of "seeing how it was". (I wouldn't go for that as I already did Pyongyang which is the five star version of that kind of tourism.) But I don't think it will drive loads of tourists.
Adding to that, as some said, it is mostly short-stay tourism and I would tend to think that this may be diminishing in coming years in Europe, immediately for economical reasons (with economical downturn, people will have less money to travel, especially for that kind of trips, concentrating on longer holidays) and on longer term for ecological reasons (which is exactly targeting that kind of travel).

SueD wrote:
Geneva flight would have a significant - political and diplomatic element - Those dodgy diplomatic bags and mail gotta be delivered sorted and sent on the comrade Putin somehow !


I agree that GVA is a special destination. The presence of UN office and agencies and the fact it is an important (and sometimes not too cautious) financial place tend to make it a place where a surprising number of powerful people want to fly to, even in less than ideal times.
 
AMP44
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:32 am

Toinou wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Seems like Belarus decided to work on promoting Minsk which is a gorgeous and extremely clean and pleasant destination.

Please excuse my lack of culture but, besides being clean, what is there to see in Minsk? (Not mocking, this is a genuine question.)


There's a few capital cities in Europe that can be categorised as 'typical post-communist capitals' because of how similar they look. Minsk, Sofia (Bulgaria), Bucharest (Romania), and Chișinău (Moldova) all look and feel similar, and there's something charming about them. Nice parks, lots of greenery, mix of boring architecture and great architecture, and some interesting museums. They can't compare to West Europe cities (London, Paris, Madrid, etc.) and are not as nice as some East Europe cities (Budapest, Tallinn, Warsaw, etc.), but there's enough to see and do for a long weekend. People shouldn't overlook them when they are planning a trip.

There's nothing too special about Belavia, but a few things stand out. They are one of the very few European airlines to have real business class in some of the fleet (E175s, E190s, and their older 737s) and offer complementary hot meals in economy. Their economy seats on their newer 737s are quite nice and comfortable as well, remind me of US airlines economy seats, so much better than those in European legacy carriers. They are very quiet, but they have a clearly define niche.

They are not as big as Ukraine International, but if the management had the vision for it, they could easily do it. A new European long haul competitor with cheap tickets and a strong network wouldn't hurt anyone.
 
SRGVA67
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:51 am

jghealey wrote:
The larger capitals maybe, but there is literally no sense in keeping flights to smaller destinations like GVA going (which was operating last week). Using the CRJ200LR so probably very little cargo, and presumably very few passengers. Surely there is a clear line between promoting national pride/making a statement and economics? No one is going to notice if or not a flight to GVA operates. If there are no passengers, it overwhelmingly makes sense to cancel the flights, especially to smaller destinations, even for a less democratic government.

How do you know there are no passengers on their flight to and from GVA ? I don't have figures but do you have any ?
 
jghealey
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Re: Belavia flights still operating

Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:08 pm

SueD wrote:
Geneva flight would have a significant - political and diplomatic element - Those dodgy diplomatic bags and mail gotta be delivered sorted and sent on the comrade Putin somehow !


Toinou wrote:
I agree that GVA is a special destination. The presence of UN office and agencies and the fact it is an important (and sometimes not too cautious) financial place tend to make it a place where a surprising number of powerful people want to fly to, even in less than ideal times.


Yes it is (I live there myself) but it does strike you as odd especially considering that we are only getting 2-3 passenger flights daily from LHR,FRA,FCO and AMS mainly. Regardless, I have checked, and it seems I was wrong... (see below)


SRGVA67 wrote:
jghealey wrote:
The larger capitals maybe, but there is literally no sense in keeping flights to smaller destinations like GVA going (which was operating last week). Using the CRJ200LR so probably very little cargo, and presumably very few passengers. Surely there is a clear line between promoting national pride/making a statement and economics? No one is going to notice if or not a flight to GVA operates. If there are no passengers, it overwhelmingly makes sense to cancel the flights, especially to smaller destinations, even for a less democratic government.

How do you know there are no passengers on their flight to and from GVA ? I don't have figures but do you have any ?


I did say 'presumably'... but seems I was wrong, so sorry for making assumptions... I tried booking a flight this coming Sunday, and their prices are high with 12/60 seats already taken. So obviously far from full but not as empty as I had assumed! Looks like it's back to an E170 as well.

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