Belavia head office in Minsk
On 7 November 1933, the first Belarusian air terminal opened in Minsk. In the next spring 3 Po-2 aircraft landed in Minsk. They became the first aircraft of the Belarusian air fleet. In 1936 the first regular air route between Minsk and Moscow was established. In the summer of 1940 the Belarusian civil aviation group was officially founded.
In 1964, the Tupolev Tu-124 aircraft received Belarusian registration. In 1973, the then new Tupolev Tu-134A began operating in Belarus. In 1983 Belarusian aviation started flying the new Tupolev Tu-154 planes.
The airline was officially founded on 5 March 1996 in accordance with a resolution of the Belarusian Government "On the restructuring of air transport of the Republic, Belarus", when the local Aeroflot division was nationalised and renamed. Between then and 1998 Belavia opened regular routes to Beijing, Istanbul, Larnaca, London, Prague, and Rome. In 1998, Belavia merged with
MinskAvia, acquiring several Antonov An-24, Antonov An-26 and Yakovlev Yak-40 aircraft in addition to existing fleet of Tupolev Tu-134 and Tupolev Tu-154 airplanes.
Development since the 2000s
On 18 May 2001, Belavia commenced a Minsk-Paris scheduled service with Tu-134s and Tu-154s.
In 2003 Belavia started publishing an in-flight magazine Horizons in English, Russian and Belarusian. On 16 October 2003, Belavia signed a leasing agreement for its first Boeing 737-500 aircraft. In 2004, Belavia further extended operations and acquired one more Boeing 737. On 26 June 2004 Belavia opened a new route to Hanover, Germany. 2011 saw the introduction of a new route between Minsk and Helsinki, Finland.
Between 2003 and 2009, the airline has seen its passenger numbers double and in 2009 handled just under 700,000 customers.
Three leased Bombardier CRJ 100 aircraft were introduced on regional services from Minsk. The first one was delivered in February 2007, with the other two later in 2007. They directly replaced the aging Antonov An-24 and Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft. It was looking to lease two Bombardier CRJ-700s in 2010. Belavia had also planned to retire its remaining Tupolev Tu-154Ms by 2011 following the retirement of its last Tupolev Tu-134 in summer 2009 which was replaced by an ex-FlyLAL Boeing 737-500. On 27 June 2014 an order was announced for three Boeing 737-800 aircraft to be acquired directly by Belavia. The first of these was delivered in August 2016.
Belavia is considering adding longhaul aircraft to its fleet to introduce new routes to China and North America. The government is reportedly also considering merging regional carrier Gomelavia and cargo operator TransAVIAexport Airlines into Belavia.
In August 2016, Belavia received their first aircraft with their new livery. This is the first re-branding since the company's founding in 1996. The new livery was applied a brand new Boeing 737-800. The much newer 737's replaced the aging Tupolev Tu-154's. On 1 October 2016, Belavia retired their two remaining Tupolev Tu-154s from scheduled services as one of the last airlines worldwide to do so.