U.S. takes enforcement action against Belavia airline for export-control violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod issued an order temporarily denying all export privileges for Belavia Belarusian Airlines (Belavia) due to ongoing violations of the comprehensive export controls imposed on Belarus by the Commerce Department. The flag carrier and state-owned national airline of Belarus, Belavia has been providing flight services for passengers and cargo on U.S.-origin aircraft in violation of U.S. export controls. This is the first enforcement action taken by BIS against an airline in Belarus under the stringent export controls imposed by the United States in response to Belarus’s steadfast support of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“Just as Belarus is lawlessly supporting Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine, its national airline Belavia is failing to obey our export laws,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. “This temporary denial order will prevent Belavia from leveraging any U.S. technology to operate its fleet of airplanes, thus making it more difficult for the airline to keep flying.”

On April 8, 2022, BIS issued a rule that removed license exception availability for any aircraft registered in, owned, or controlled by, or under charter or lease by Belarus or a national of Belarus, also imposing a license requirement for these Belarusian owned/operated aircraft. As a result, any aircraft manufactured in the United States, or that is manufactured in a foreign country and includes more than 25 percent U.S.-origin controlled content, is subject to a license requirement if such aircraft is destined for Belarus or Russia. As stated in the TDO, Belavia continued to operate flights in to and out of both Belarus and Russia after April 8, and it continues to do so.

The Temporary Denial Order (TDO) issued today bans Belavia from participating in any transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), including exports from the United States and reexports of items subject to the EAR from abroad. Today’s TDO fully cuts off Belavia’s access to U.S. goods and technologies and may be renewed after 180 days.

BIS has led the Department of Commerce’s efforts in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by taking a number of powerful regulatory and enforcement actions, including issuing public notice of potential violations of the EAR in the aerospace sector and issuing TDOs on major Russian airlines Aeroflot, Aviastar, Azur Air, Rossiya, and Utair. A link to the TDO is available here: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/1374-belavia-tdo-final-6-16-2022/file

Additional information on these and other actions taken in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is available on BIS’s website at: https://bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/country-guidance/russia-belarus.

The issuance of a TDO is one of the most significant civil sanctions under the EAR and is issued by the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement to deny the export privileges of a company or individual to prevent an imminent or on-going export control violation. This BIS TDO was issued under the authority of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 and the EAR.