Marius Skuodis discussed the course of the investigation into the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Belarus with the President of the ICAO Council and other representatives of the Organisation


2021 10 11


While visiting the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis reiterated full national support and involvement in the investigation into the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Belarus on 23 May carried out by the organisation. During the visit in Montreal (Canada), meetings with President of the Organisation, which is established here, Salvatore Sciacchitano, Members of the Council and other representatives of the Organisation took place. A report of the ICAO investigation should be approved in November.


“This year, we have repeatedly faced incidents of civil aviation being used for illegal or unprecedented objectives. First of all, we are attaching great importance to the ICAO investigation into the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk. We expect timely submission of a final report of the organisation’s investigators in November. The actions taken by the organisation once the findings of the investigation are disclosed are also extremely important,” said Minister Skuodis at the meetings.


Marius Skuodis reiterated and offered full national support and involvement necessary for the investigation into the hijacking of a Ryanair plane.


In view of the official suggestions by Lithuania and other countries, in May, ICAO announced the start of a fact-finding investigation when an international Ryanair flight to Vilnius with 126 passengers was forcibly landed in Minsk. The ICAO fact-finding investigation team (ICAO FFIT) in charge of the international investigation visited countries related to the incident and gathered information, data and facts to reconstruct the sequence of events of this incident. In August, the ICAO FFIT investigators met officials of Lithuania, Poland and Belarus.


The ICAO FFIT investigators are analysing the material provided by all institutions and countries and are planning to concentrate on inconsistencies detected in the declarations of the countries while providing facts of the incident and the sequence of events.


According to the Minister, the signs indicating that international civil aviation is often used as a means to organise illegal immigration is worrying. Skuodis emphasised illegal migration over the Lithuania-Belarus border, which has expanded to the neighbouring countries – Latvia and Poland. According to the Minister, there are suspicions of such migration being organised by using the airlines of other countries.


Compared to 2020, illegal migration to Lithuania over the border with Belarus has increased at least 55-fold.