Belavia carrier released a statement on Friday in which it claims to operate with only 15 of its 29 planes because of sanctions imposed by the West for alleged participation in actions to destabilize countries in Europe by transporting illegal immigrants.
The most recent move came from the European Union, which banned companies from leasing aircraft to Belavia. Currently, Belarus’ state-owned airline has a fleet of 14 Boeing 737 jets and 15 Embraer E-Jets.
It is not known for sure which of these planes are operational, but at least three are out of service, the new E195-E2, which were leased by AerCap and have been stored in Kazakhstan since October.
There are also some E175s parked in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, according to data from Planespotters.
“The introduction of new restrictions is causing more and more anxiety among people and questions regarding the future work of Belavia. Today, the airline operates in a difficult environment, with nearly 2,000 employees working hard every day to reduce anxiety and transport their passengers safely to other countries,” stated Belavia.
The airline now plans to acquire aircraft and close leasing agreements with companies from countries outside the European Union. However, the main lessors on the market are based in countries like Ireland and the US, which also condemns the Belarus government.
The crisis with the country, a former satellite of the Soviet Union, began when the Belarus air force intercepted a Ryanair flight carrying a journalist critical of the government.
Recently, friction with Poland over refugees trying to cross its border into Belarus has heightened tension in the region.