Airlines told to avoid Belarusian airspace

At the same time, the Civil Aviation Authority has suspended all foreign carrier permits held by Belarusian air carriers until further notice.

The suspension applies to both scheduled operators, including the Belarusian airline Belavia, as well as chartered air carriers.

“The Civil Aviation Authority has also issued a notice to all UK registered airlines requesting that they avoid overflight of any territory of the Republic of Belarus,” a statement added.

The moves come after Belarus scrambled a fighter jet to force the plane – which was travelling from Athens in Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania – to land in the Belarusian capital after saying there had been a bomb threat.

Dissident journalist Roman Protasevich was removed from the plane and arrested at Minsk airport on Sunday.

In response, transport secretary, Grant Shapps, tweeted the government was taking the necessary “to keep passengers safe”.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, added the interception of the flight was a “shocking assault on civil aviation”.