Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Belavia Belarusian Airlines (Belarusian: "Белавія") is the national airline of Belarus. It was officially founded on 5 March 1996 by the Belarusian government when the local Aeroflot division was nationalised and renamed. They transport more than 300,000 passengers per year. Flights include international, passenger, cargo and charter.
- On November 7, 1933, the first Belarusian air terminal opened in Minsk. Next spring three planes Po-2 landed in Minsk. They became the first airplanes belongning to Belarusian air fleet.
- In 1936 the first regular air route between Minsk and Moscow was established.
- In the summer of 1940 Belarusian civil aviation group was officially founded.
- On February 1, 1985 Soviet Tu-134 crashed near Minsk-1 killing at least 58 out of 80 people on board. The accident happenned because clear ice ingestion into the engines as a result of inadequate deicing before takeoff. Both engines sustained serious damage and stalled.
- In 1993 Belarusian civial aviation fleet organized a large-scale charter program with China and Middle East. Thousands of tourists from Belarus visited United Arab Emirates, China, India, Korea, Pakistan.
- In 1995 - 1998 Belavia opened regular routes to Beijing, Istanbul, Larnaca, London, Prague, and Rome.
- In 1998 Belavia merged with Minskavia, acquiring several An-24, An-26, Yak-40 planes in addition to existing fleet of Tu-134 and Tu-154 airplanes.
- In 2003 Belavia started publishing an in-flight magazine "Horizons" in English, Russian and Belarusian (partially).
- On 16 October, 2003 Belavia signed leasing agreement for its first "Boeing-737/500" aircraft. In 2004 Belavia further extended operations and took one more "Boeing 737".
With Minsk as its base, Belavia is steadily increasing its network of routes throughout Europe. Currently Belavia has offices in 12 European countries. International routes covered by Belavia include Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Currently Belavia has no domestic routes though before routes to Belarusian cities Homel and Vitebsk were also serviced. Over all, Belavia has older air fleet and somewhat lower standards of service in comparison to bigger Western airlines, but generally the prices are somewhat lower. In addition, Belarusian citizens usually get further discounts.
Incidents and Accidents
So far Belavia has enjoyed a clean record, its most serious accident to-date being a shattered windshield on Yak-40 upon landing in Prague (The canopy of Yak-40 burst on January 6, 2003 just after the aircraft entered Czech airspace; two Czech Air force fighters accompanied the plane to a safe landing in Ruzyne international airport).
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