Gulf carrier Etihad has announced plans to introduce flights to Belarus from Abu Dhabi.
The flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be the first Gulf airline to connect the two destinations when the new flights start in August.
Two flights a week will initially operate between Abu Dhabi and Minsk, with a third service set to be added in October.
"To make history as the first airline from the Gulf region to fly to Belarus is a great honour for Etihad Airways. We are extremely excited at the prospect of helping to strengthen further the trade ties between the two countries through the launch of our new Minsk service," said James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad.
The move has been welcomed by officials in Belarus with Vladimir Sulimsky, the Belarusian ambassador in the UAE explaining: "There is a real appetite for business between our two countries which is sure to be boosted by the launch of this new, non-stop service between our two capital cities."
Etihad recently announced a new codeshare agreement with India’s Jet Airways. Due to start next month, the partnership will make flights to India easier for Etihad passengers travelling from Beirut and Jeddah, Geneva, Munich, Manchester, New York and Toronto.