An ugly brawl between passengers has broken out on a national airline barred by most European countries.

Footage from a Belavia flight shows punches being thrown shortly after the aircraft took off from Belarus capital Minsk to Tbilisi in Georgia.

A group of noisy men can be seen gathering in the aisle around the seat of an alleged drunk and aggressive passenger.

Amid much shouting, a man then launches several punches while a gaggle of burly passengers try to break-up the fight.

Belavia, a Belarusian airline, is banned from flying to most European destinations after autocrat Alexander Lukashenko used a MiG-29 to force the landing of a Ryanair plane to detain dissident journalist Roman Protasevich.

The man who allegedly started the brawl was detained when the Boeing 737-800 landed in the Georgian capital.

A throng of men formed in the aisle of the plane
A throng of men formed in the aisle of the plane

One witness said the fight broke out when a male passenger “insulted” a woman soon after take-off.

She was moved to another seat for the entire two hour 50 minute flight, but this did not stop tensions from bubbling over.

Dozens of male passengers crowded in the aisle around the seat of the alleged culprit, who exchanged punches with a man in a white shirt with his back to the camera.

Flight crew, including the captain, tried to calm the melee.

"Stop the fight, or we will be forced to land the plane,” the captain was heard saying.

A man who had been aboard the plane was later pictured being taken into custody by police in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi is one of the few destinations still open to Belavia. There are now 11 Belavia flights a week on the 1,150 mile route between Minsk and Tbilisi.

The brawl broke out on the pariah airline
The brawl broke out on the pariah airline
A man was pictured being taken away by police officers
A man was pictured being taken away by police officers

Western governments have told airlines not to overfly Belarus after the Ryanair incident, in which Mr Protasevich was arrested after the plane was forced to land in Minsk when Belarussian air controllers warned of a bomb threat.

This week the journalist, who is being detained by the authorities, was filmed saying that protests were now pointless and that he had been involved in a plot to overthrow the government.

His father, Dmitri Protasevich, told AFP that the televised confession was the result of "violence, torture and threats".

"I know my son very well and I'm convinced he would never say such things," he said.