Ranking Members Sam Graves & Garret Graves Statement on Belarus Diversion of Ryanair Flight
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Subcommittee on Aviation Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA) joint statement regarding the May 23, 2021, diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978, that included American citizens, by the government of Belarus:
“While a full and thorough investigation will shed more light, the information we do have suggests that this incident is nothing less than a state-sponsored hijacking of a civilian airliner in order to arrest a political critic. At this point, it seems clear that Belarusian airspace is not safe for American citizens or any who oppose the human rights violations of the current regime, which endangered the lives of every person on flight FR4978. Since Belarus is a signatory of the Chicago Convention, we support calls for the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to meet as soon as possible to review the incident.
“We are also calling on the Biden Administration to take more immediate action while investigations are ongoing. In order to protect the American and global traveling public, we urge the President to direct the Federal Aviation Administration to immediately explore all avenues to protect U.S. citizens. We also call for the Administration to coordinate with our international allies and partners to ensure the safety of their citizens as well.
“It is our understanding that there are 350-400 flights over Belarus every day. Yesterday, Belarus demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of these flights and the passengers on board. We must send a clear message to Belarus and the world that such an egregious breach of international law will not be tolerated by the United States.”