Ukraine opens its skies: 6 new companies, 30 new flights, 19 million passengers
After a free trade agreement between Ukraine and the European Union came into force on Sep. 1, 2017, Ukraine’s aviation industry has boomed, breaking several records in 2018.
Over 19 million people traveled through Ukraine’s airports from January through November, according to the Infrastructure Ministry. This is a 24.7 percent increase on last year’s figure and a record number in Ukraine’s history. The passenger volume is expected to pass the 20 million mark by the end of 2018. Five major Ukrainian airports account for 95 percent of all passenger traffic in Ukraine, with airports in Kyiv and Lviv increasing the number of passengers by 50 percent compared to last year. Kyiv’s airports alone account for 75 percent of all air passenger traffic.
Not only Ryanair
A total of seven airlines entered Ukraine this year. Additionally, two airlines resumed regular flights to Ukraine after a couple of years away from the market. The main event was the much-anticipated entrance of Irish low-cost Ryanair, which failed to make its initial landing last year. Ryanair began regular flights on Sept. 3 from Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport, and will offer a total of 17 flight destinations from three Ukrainian airports by the end of the year.
In addition to Ryanair, the other international airlines entering the Ukrainian market this year were Romania’s TAROM, Belgium’s Brussels Airlines, together with Jordan’s Aviation and Iraqi Airways began operating in 2018. Georgia’s Myway entered in June but shortly after closed their operations in December. Swiss International Airlines and Air Malta resumed operations after a four-year hiatus.
Ukraine also launched a new low-cost airline called SkyUp, which started its operations in May.
Over 30 new flight destinations from six Ukrainian airports opened for Ukrainians in 2018. Thirteen new flight destinations opened from Lviv, with the same number of new flights opening from the two Kyiv hubs. Kharkiv saw a rise in new flight destinations, with the city being chosen by Wizz Air as the third Ukrainian city to host regular flights, after Kyiv and Lviv. One new destination was opened from Odesa to Bucharest by TAROM, and another from Zaporizhia to Warsaw by LOT.
The airline companies are expected to increase their flight destinations in 2019. Austrian low budget airline Laudamotion — a subsidiary of Ryanair — is to launch its first flights in Ukraine in February. ■
From left Ryanair sales and marketing executive for Central and Eastern Europe Denis Barabas, Boryspil Airport Director Pavlo Ryabikin and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan present the first flight of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair to Berlin from Boryspil International Airport, on Sept. 3, 2018. Ryanair became one of the six new airlines that launched regular flights from Ukrainian airports in 2018. (AFP)