Belarus and Russia are in negotiations over introducing flat fares on flights between the two countries, just like those that already exist within Russia, Interfax reported, citing Dmitry Krutoy, Belarussian ambassador to Russia.

The diplomat stated that the idea was outlined at a meeting of the High-Level Group of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, referring to a supranational union between Russia and Belarus which will turn 25 at the end of this year. Furthermore, Krutoy stressed that additional joint legislation would be needed to implement the project, with Minsk already prepared to use its budget to subsidize air travel to sister cities in Russia, Murmansk and Ulyanovsk Vostochny. He went on to say that flights between Moscow and Minsk could also fall under the programme once launched.

Belavia (B2, Minsk National) operates eight weekly flights to Moscow while Aeroflot operates five flights on the same route, ch-aviation schedules shows. There are no scheduled operations at the moment between the Belarussian capital and its sister cities.

Russia’s Aeroflot launched a year-round subsidized flat fare programme for destinations in the country’s Far East in 2015 to boost regional connectivity. The initiative first encompassed all residents of the Far East, but subsidies were eventually cut to include only certain groups, such as students and retirees. However, majority state-owned Aeroflot remained under the obligation to operate flights at flat fares in economy. According to data from late 2023, Aeroflot’s costs for the flat fare programme were RUB10 billion roubles (USD112 million) in 2021. Meanwhile, the airline was counting on international flights to make up for the subsidized domestic routes, which has been made significantly more difficult after it was heavily hit by Ukraine war-related sanctions, forcing it to increase even the flat fares.

With prices rising, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service asked multiple airlines in Russia to explain why they had increased fares. Furthermore, there has been talk of further limiting subsidies on regional routes in Russia due to depleted funds.