The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively proposed to ban all passenger ticket sales, including on an interline basis, for travel between the US and Belarus in response to the May 23 state-backed forced diversion of a Ryanair aircraft over the eastern European country.

The DOT said it acted upon an earlier request by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recommended limiting flights between the US and Belarus.

"Accordingly, the DOT tentatively finds that it is in the public interest to condition the authority of all US and foreign carriers to the extent necessary to prohibit the sale of passenger air transportation, including air transportation on an interline basis, between the United States and Belarus," the Department said.

In technical terms, the ban will be enforced by adding an appropriate condition to all existing and future certificates for US carriers and foreign carriers authorised to operate to the country. The DOT gave all parties two days to comment. The decision will become effective immediately upon the finalisation of the order. The only exception from the ban will be for "transportation deemed to be in the national interest of the United States, including on humanitarian or national security grounds". Cargo flights are also excluded from the scope of the order.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, there are no direct scheduled flights between Belarus and the United States. After all European carriers suspended flights to Belarus in the wake of the May incident, the pool of airlines selling connecting itineraries between the two countries has also plummeted. Currently, the only airlines operating scheduled passenger flights to both Belarus and the US are Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, and Air China.