The United States Department of Commerce announced having identified seven Belavia Boeing 737 aircraft in potential violation of U.S. export control laws. 

In an official statement issued on April 14, 2022, the department said that seven Boeing 737 planes owned and operated by Belavia, particularly the EW-254PA, EW-366PA, EW-455PA, EW-456PA, EW-457PA, EW-527PA, and EW-544PA, were put into the list of aircraft that have flown into Russia or Belarus in apparent violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  

Following regulations, which were updated on April 8, 2022, Russian and Belarussian jets identified in the list are restricted from receiving refueling, aircraft spare parts, maintenance, or repair services from foreign companies. 

“New restrictions on Belarusian aircraft were put in place on April 8, 2022, and less than a week later we’re already telling the world that servicing specific Belarusian planes is a no go,” Matthew S. Axelrod, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, was quoted in the department statement as saying. 

The department also explained that the decision to restrict Russian and Belarussian planes from receiving named services by international companies comes as a countermeasure of the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in response to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been supported by Belarus. 

“By rejecting the international rule of law, Russia and Belarus have made it clear that they do not deserve the benefits of participating in the global economy, and that includes international travel,“ Don Graves, the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, said. “As long as Russia continues this unwarranted assault, Commerce will continue to take consequential actions to hold them to account.” 

“BIS is continuing its efforts to notify the public that providing any form of service to these aircraft requires authorization. Absent such authorization, any person anywhere—including within Belarus or Russia—risks violating the EAR and would be subject to BIS enforcement actions, which could include substantial jail time, fines, loss of export privileges, or other restrictions,” the Department of Commerce explained in a statement. 

Under the export controls law, entities aiming to assist aircraft added to the list are required to receive authorization from the US authorities before delivering their services. However, the department warned that in case any action is taken without the required authorization, such actions would be approached by BIS as a law violation which would lead to “jail time, fines, loss of export privileges, or other restrictions.” 

Currently, there are 153 both Russia and Belarus-registered aircraft added to the US authority list, out of which 146 belong to or are operated by twelve Russian airlines. These include Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot, AirBridgeCargo, Aviastar-TU, Alrosa, and Azur Air as well as Nordwind, Pegas Fly, Pobeda, Rossiya Airlines, Royal Flight, S7 Airlines and Utair.

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Following the EU sanctions, the Belarusian national carrier Belavia downsized its aircraft fleet by nearly half.