Capacity to Belarus grows 32% in 12 months; three new airlines join the nation’s carrier line-up; Belavia commands the show with 64% of seats

Arkia Israeli Airlines, UT air and Motor Sich Airlines have all commenced flights to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, during the past year, with the first two airlines being greeted with a water arch salute on their arrival. From the looks of the Motor Sich Airlines aircraft, it may have been too cold to have performed the world renowned baptism of service on the day of its inauguration. These three new carriers have helped capacity to Belarus grow by 32% during the past year.

Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, is known for its Stalinist architecture, grand fortifications and primeval forests. 2016 estimates suggest that the nation’s population is currently around 9.5 million, while its GDP is about $45.9 billion (US). Around two million people – a little over 20% of the population of Belarus – live in the country’s capital, Minsk, which according to OAG schedules is home to the only commercial airport in Belarus. Although OAG schedules indicate that Minsk is the sole airport of Belarus, it should be noted that Gomel, Hrodna and Brest airports in the country also offer seasonal flights throughout the year, with a majority of them being charters. Another factor to consider is that Minsk was also served by another airport – Minsk-1 – until it closed on 23 December last year. There are also multiple military airports in the nation.

With OAG schedules showing Minsk as the only airport in Belarus with scheduled flights,’s data elves have just looked at the capital airport’s traffic total to get a general idea of the country’s traffic development.

Traffic up 396% since 2005

During the past decade traffic to Belarus’ capital has grown 396% from 0.56 million in 2005 to 2.78 million last year. As a result Minsk Airport has managed to achieve an average year-on-year increase in traffic of 20%. Last year was the first time in which Minsk has not registered a double-digit increase in growth since 2009. What should also be noted is that 2013 was the year in which the airport’s annual passenger total surpassed the city’s population size.

Chart:  Minsk's overall traffic 2005-2015 Annual passengers (millions) and year-on-year growth

Source: ACI World Report.

Belavia bosses seats

Belarus does have a national airline – Belavia. The flag carrier this October commands 64% of seat capacity from its home nation, with its operations being 580% larger than the second largest airline – Aeroflot. One of Belavia’s recent new routes from Minsk was to Moscow Zhukovsky, the Russian capital’s latest commercial airport. Belavia is the first carrier to operate a regular scheduled service into Zhukovsky. This latest launch is one of the factors helping the flag carrier report a near 28% increase in seats when compared to last year from its home market.

Three new carriers during the past 12 months

During the past year Belarus has welcomed the arrival of three new airlines, namely Arkia Israeli Airlines, UT air and Motor Sich Airlines. Although Turkmenistan Airlines is new for October 2016, it did operate to Minsk last year with a weekly Saturday service. However it took a break on the route from Ashgabat between 29 August and 5 December when referring to OAG schedules. As well as Turkmenistan Airlines, UT air and Motor Sich Airlines have made it into Belarus’ top 12 airlines (highlighted in light green).

Chart: Belarus' top 12 airlines Monthly one-way seat capacity in October 2016 (Seat capacity change October 16 v October 15)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data October 16 v October 15.

Ukraine International fastest growing carrier

Since October 2015 the fastest growing airline from Belarus is Ukraine International Airlines (highlighted in blue), with the carrier having grown its capacity to the nation by just over 162%. The result of this increase is due to the airline growing the frequency on its link between Minsk and Kiev Boryspil from eight times weekly to thrice-daily.

Outside of the top 12 a further four airlines serve Belarus, with one of them being new carrier Arkia Israeli Airlines. The remaining three carriers are: Azerbaijan Airlines (13th largest carrier; 20% growth in seat capacity); Uzbekistan Airways (14th; -16%); and airBaltic (15th; 17%).

Two country markets dropped despite strong capacity growth  

During the past year it appears that two country markets are no longer served directly from Belarus. Belavia ended flights between Minsk and Yerevan on 7 February this year, while last year Bulgaria Air linked the Belarusian capital with Bourgas. As a result of these route losses it means Armenia and Bulgaria are no longer non-stop markets from Belarus.

cHART: Belarus' top 12 country markets Monthly one-way seat capacity change October 2016 v October 2015

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data October 2016 v October 2015.

The best performing market for growth during the past year is Turkmenistan (13th largest market), with capacity between it and Belarus up 402%. The reason for this vast growth is due to Turkmenistan Airlines operating its thrice-weekly service throughout October this year, accompanying Belavia’s weekly (Tuesday) flight on the Minsk – Ashgabat sector. The only other market to register a triple-digit growth in seats is Ukraine – Belarus’ second largest market – with capacity up by nearly 300%.

Outside of the top 12, Belarus is connected to a further 16 country markets, ranging from Turkmenistan in 13th to Lebanon in 28th. Apart from Turkmenistan, another five markets are posting greater than double-digit growth during the past 12 months. They are Azerbaijan (16th largest market; 10%), Spain (19th; 63%), UK (22nd; 24%), Finland (25th; 12%) and Lebanon (28th; 25%).

Capacity to Belarus grows 32% in 12 months-1

The latest launch by flag carrier Belavia from the Belarusian capital was a 676-kilometre sector to Moscow Zhukovsky, the Russian airport’s first scheduled service. As a result of the airline’s pioneering service, the airport pair won the coveted Route of the Week award.


  1. Useful article, and it’s great the way you cover parts of the aviation world negelected by other media. Belarus rarely gets a mention in mainstream media. Just to say that the real reason for growth in Belarus traffic over the last 12 months is Minsk’s sudden new role as a transit airport. The tit-for-tat aviation sanctions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine mean that there are no direct scheduled flights between the two countries. So travellers from, for example, Odessa or Kiev to Moscow must perforce now travel via Minsk. There has been some revamping of facilities at Minsk to accommodate the huge increase in online and interline transit traffic through the airport.
    Hope this clarification is helpful to your readers.
    Keep up the good work. We here at ‘hidden europe’ are great fans of AnnaAero.
    Nicky Gardner
    co-editor, hidden europe magazine
    Berlin, Germany

  2. Serge says:

    Hi! Is it correct stats? Now September 2016 but in diagrammes you use data for October 16. Or I something didnt understand?!

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