31 May 2023 14:58

Moldova to close its airspace for civilian aircraft during European Political Community summit

CHISINAU. May 31 (Interfax) - Only flights carrying official delegations will be allowed to enter Moldovan airspace on June 1-2 due to a summit of the European Political Community, Moldovan General Police Inspectorate Chief Viorel Cernauteanu said at a press briefing in Chisinau on Wednesday.

Official delegations have started arriving in Chisinau, Cernauteanu said. In total, 20 flights carrying official delegations are expected to land in Moldova on Wednesday, including flights from Brussels with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell onboard.

However, Chisinau Airport will work normally on Wednesday, Cernauteanu said.

"Chisinau International Airport is working normally, without disruptions to passenger services or delays in regular flights. The arrival of official delegations will not affect today's schedule of regular flights. But civilian aircraft and drones will be barred from midnight on May 31 through 7 a.m. on June 2. Only the flights of official delegations will be allowed during that period," he said.

A flight from London was scheduled to land in Chisinau after midnight on June 1, so it will land in the Romanian city of Bacau, where the passengers would be further transported by bus, Cernauteanu said. Some of the special flights, which will arrive on Wednesday and Thursday and stay for the night, will be parked in the Romanian airports of Iasi and Bacau. However, there is not enough parking space for all aircraft at Chisinau airport, he said.

The airport has implemented unprecedented security measures, and the airport's parking facilities have been closed from May 25 through June 2, Cernauteanu said.

"Security measures connected with the European Political Community summit have been enforced gradually and with a high [degree of] flexibility to minimize inconveniences for the public. As official delegations arrive, car traffic from the airport to Chisinau will be partially suspended for the time they are transiting to hotels. Traffic will be rerouted to alternate roads by the traffic police," Cernauteanu said.

Meanwhile, all ground border checkpoints are working as usual, he said. Border services are reporting normal traffic at all checkpoints on the borders with Romania and Ukraine, he said. A number of additional measures will be taken to expedite service.

Chisinau will host the European Political Community summit on June 1. Forty-eight presidents and heads of government and the entire EU leadership are expected to attend. The meeting in Chisinau will address joint efforts for peace in the context of the Ukraine conflict and related crises, the protection of democracy, enhancing energy security, and ensuring the stability of European states.

The summit's main events will take place at the Mimi Castle winery and tourist site, 35 kilometers from Chisinau.

A training range of the Moldovan army is located in the village of Bulboaca several kilometers away from the castle. It is now hosting the Air Bastion 2023 exercise. More than 200 Moldovan, French, British, Romanian and U.S. servicemen are taking part in the air defense drills. The press service for the Moldovan Defense Ministry said they would provide air defense for strategic facilities.