Condemnation of the episode was swift with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen descrbing "the hijacking of the Ryanair plane by the Belarus regime as an attack on democracy" while U.S. President Joe Biden condemned it "in the strongest possible terms".
As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, the event served as a reminder that some sections of international airspace carry an inherent level of risk for passenger flights.
Cases of "air piracy" have proven rare down through the years but the Ryanair incident has striking similarities to another forced diversion that occurred in July 1971. That involved a BOAC flight carrying two men associated with an abortive coup d'état attempt in Sudan being forced to land in Benghazi, Libya by the Gaddafi regime. The men in question were handed over to Sudan and immediately executed upon orders from the country's new president. More recently, the shootdown of Ukraine International Flight 752 over Tehran in 2020 and the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine in 2014 have shown that conflict and geopolitical tensions also pose a risk to commercial airliners.