Budget airline Ryanair reportedly offered some employees from the closing base in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, to relocate to Belarus, the Daily Mail reported on 19 December.
The employees refused, the company has no Belarusian bases anyone knows about, but the news got Belarusians kinda excited anyway.
According to the British tabloid, the airline asked pilots and cabin crew members based in the Netherlands to ‘voluntarily’ relocate to bases in Morocco and Belarus. The staff refused, so Ryanair officially filed for the collective firing of all personnel at the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). The conflict, that started in autumn, keeps unwinding.
The Daily Mail refers to sources in the Dutch Traffic Flyers Association (VNV) who said that the Irish air carrier is ‘searching for employees for their new bases, for example in Minsk (capital of Belarus)’. So, does it mean that the low-cost airline will come to Belarus?
The Belarusian news website TUT.BY asked the question to Ryanair’s press service. Sources in the Belarusian aviation circles told TUT.BY that “there is some logic in that information”.
Weird routes and regional airports
In the meantime, the Ryanair’s planes do not even fly over Belarus.
After spotters found that weird fact out, Belarusian aviation authorities contacted Ryanair offering them to use the sky over Belarus for flights.
“They thanked us and said that they would take our proposal into account. But they haven’t crossed Belarus yet. The airline decides on the matter itself, but for Ryanair, flights over Belarus would be both cheaper and shorter. We sent them the rates,” the Deputy Director General of Belaeronavigatsiya Ivan Gerlovsky told journalists.
However, the aviation authority does not have any info about Ryanair’s plans for Belarus.
“We are in contact, but the airline hasn’t announced plans to start flights to Belarus neither in 2019 nor in 2020. They are still studying the market.”
Gerlovsky added that Belarusian aviation authorities are inviting many airlines to cooperate: “Our regional airports are in good condition to welcome international flights.”
Read also: Highly useful guide around Minsk airport
Wizzair and discounts from Belavia
Daily Mail’s report about the still inexistent Ryanair’s bases in Belarus is not the first info of the kind to shake the nerves of Belarusians who are used to traveling to the neighboring states for cheaper flights.
Earlier this year the Minister of State of Hungarian MFA Csaba Balogh said that Wizz Air may start flights to Belarus.
“We intend to ask the airline to consider flights from Budapest to Minsk,” the official said at the Belarusian-Hungarian business forum in Minsk. The talks might take place in 2019.
Read also: How to use Minsk public transport – FAQs
The arrival of international low-cost airlines is a dream of many Belarusians. However, the perspective of it has many times been described as unrealistic.
Belarusian officials occasionally mention holding talks with low-cost airlines, but state that passenger volumes in Belarus are not big enough. Besides, the country is not ready to subsidize flights. Not compiling to the local transport standards is another reason why low-cost airlines don’t fly to Belarus.
On the good side, the state airline Belavia has been working on flexible rates and holding promotional ticket sales in recent years.
Besides, the air carrier announced plans to launch hand baggage-only fares.
“We expect Belavia to offer a number of hand baggage-only tickets on every flight. The tickets will be at a ridiculous price,” Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak told the media.