Ukraine opens its skies: 6 new com­pa­nies, 30 new flights, 19 mil­lion pas­sen­gers

Kyiv Post - - Business - BY OLEKSIY SOROKIN [email protected]

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.

Pas­sen­ger traf­fic

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.

New des­ti­na­tions

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)

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