Political power interests must not jeopardize flight safety

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Political power interests must not jeopardize flight safety

VC condemns forced landing of Ryanair flight FR-4978 as serious interference in civil air traffic

On May 23, 2021, Ryanair flight FR-4978 en route from Athens to Vilnius was - according to German foreign minister Heiko Maas - forced to divert to Minsk under the pretext of a bomb threat. The German Airline Pilots condemn this serious interference with civil air traffic. Civilian overflight of ICAO member states must be possible without compromising flight safety - regardless of crew members and passengers on board.  

Forcing an aircraft to land by military means can significantly jeopardize flight safety due to psychological pressure and the deviation from standard procedures.    

"This interference with a civil flight en-route from one EU-country to another is absolutely unacceptable," said Leila Belaasri, VC press spokesperson. "The misuse of bomb threats damages confidence in the reliability of authorities warning. It is one of the most serious situations in air travel, putting crews under significant stress and passengers in fear.

As VC, we have no understanding at all for such demonstrations of political power as we have now had to experience in Belarus. Politics must not be played out on the backs of crews and passengers on planes."

Following the incident in Belarusian airspace, the German Airline Pilots' Association is offering peer support to the colleagues on Ryanair flight FR-4978 via the VC Support Hotline.



Leila Belaasri, Board Member and Spokesperson, Tel. 0176 / 1695 9001,
VC press office, Tel. 069 / 69 59 76 102

VC is the German Airline Pilots‘ Association. The fundamental objectives of the VC are contributing to the welfare and safety of civil aviation as well as ensuring and pursuing the interests of its 9,600 members regarding technical affairs and industrial affairs.

V. i. S. d. P.: Vereinigung Cockpit, Unterschweinstiege 10, 60549 Frankfurt, Phone: 069 / 69 59 76 - 0, Fax: 069 / 69 59 76 - 150; presse@vcockpit.de, www.VCockpit.de

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