Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will continue operating flights according to the existing schedule, the company’s press service reported on February 14. “Ukraine International Airlines will continue to operate flights according to the existing schedule, operating 16 medium-haul aircraft without any changes in the schedule. In particular, today’s evening flights and tomorrow’s morning flights are operated without changes,” the company said in a statement.
UIA said the preservation of operational work was made possible by a constructive dialogue between UIA’s business partners, as well as cooperation with the Government of Ukraine.
“Currently, tickets for flights of UIA and partners are on sale on the official website of the airline. The airline will continue to regularly report any possible changes in its operations,” the airline said.
Ukraine International Airlines (UIA, Kyiv) has received an official message from insurance companies about the termination of aircraft insurance for flights in Ukraine’s airspace.
“Due to the foreign policy situation, Ukraine International Airlines has received an official notification from insurance companies to terminate the insurance of aircraft for flights in the airspace of Ukraine. In this regard, UIA, at the request of lessors, sends five Boeing 737-800 aircraft to Spain while retaining other aircraft in the company’s fleet. In addition, two aircraft of the airline are sent for scheduled engine maintenance in Belgrade,” the airline said in the official statement on Monday.
UIA also reported that negotiations are underway with insurance companies, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the State Aviation Service. The airline hopes for mutual understanding.
Earlier, on February 13, a working meeting was held at the Ministry of Infrastructure with the participation of the leadership of the President’s Office, the State Aviation Service of Ukraine, the state-owned enterprise UkSATSE, Boryspil International Airport and Ukrainian airlines on the situation in the air transportation market. As a result of the meeting, a solution was worked out to prevent further aggravation of the situation.
As a source of Interfax-Ukraine notes, Azur Air Ukraine and Windrose were not present at the meeting and did not request assistance with the insurance situation.
Then, also on February 13, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate UAH 16.6 billion from the state budget’s reserve fund to the Ministry of Infrastructure to ensure the safety of aircraft flights in the country’s airspace. The allocated funds cover insured events for at least 23 aircraft.
According to information available to Interfax-Ukraine, SkyUp airline has submitted seven Boeing 737-800 aircraft to the list, Bees Airline – four of the same aircraft. Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has submitted a list of 12 aircraft: four Embraer ERJ 190-100, six Boeing 737-800 and two Boeing 737-900ER.
The Verkhovna Rada Budget Committee on the evening of February 13 agreed on the redistribution of UAH 16.6 billion of state budget expenditures by reducing expenditures under the public debt service budget program to finance an additional state mechanism for flight safety insurance in Ukraine.
The largest number of flights in the airspace of Ukraine in 2021 among Ukrainian air carriers was performed by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE) reported on its Facebook page.
According to the company’s data, SkyUp is in second place. The top five also included Windrose, Azur Air, and Bees Airline.
Among foreign airlines, Turkish Airlines took the first place in the number of flights in 2021. The second is Wizz Air, the third is Ryanair. LOT, Pegasus Airlines, Belavia, Qatar Airways, FlyDubai, Lufthansa and Enter Air followed them.
As reported with reference to UkSATSE, 230,500 flights were performed in the airspace of Ukraine in 2021, which is 62.3% more than in 2020 and 31.2% less than in the pre-crisis 2019.
Ukrainian airlines performed 81,700 flights in 2021 (64.4% more than in 2020 and 25.5% less than in 2019), foreign airlines performed 148,700 flights (61.2% more and 34.1% less respectively).
– The Supreme Court of Ontario ruled to pay the relatives of the six victims of the UIA plane crash about $ 78.7 million plus interest. How can this affect the situation as a whole?
– It is difficult for me to comment on what is happening in Canada, to what extent this decision is final, whether it will be implemented … It’s hard to judge. Lawyers will certainly be able to better assess the situation. We live in the situation in which we live. All passengers and all crew members were insured, the families of the victims received all the first insurance payments. The second payments are part of the assessment process between the insurance company and the families regarding the extent of the damage caused, because this damage, as defined by insurance legislation, can be assessed differently depending on the composition of the family: whether the deceased was a breadwinner, whether he had dependents, etc.
This process is long, and in all countries it takes a long time, but it is going on. We control how this happens. We believe that all the issues will be resolved in relation to the relatives of both the deceased passengers and the deceased crew.
– How exactly are negotiations with Iran going on compensation for the cost of the plane? Has Iran started returning funds?
– As for the compensation to the lessor, the owner of this aircraft, it has already been settled, there is no more dispute there.
As for the damage caused directly to UIA, experts are now assessing its size, and we are considering the possibility of arbitration in order as a company to demand compensation from Iran. UIA, with its specialists, experts in the field of aviation, participated in almost all the meetings between the governments of Ukraine and Iran. The last meeting took place in June, there were no more of them. It is difficult to say how much progress has been made on this issue.
– The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine claims that progress is not great.
– Alas, not great. When people turn to us for an expert opinion, we are interested in participating in all negotiations. We’ve also prepared a very serious document – comments on the technical report of Iran, which was posted on the websites of IATA and the Iranian State Aviation Administration. There are comments from all institutions: the Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor’s Office, the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine (the authority that conducts investigations into air crashes from the Ukrainian government).
We are forced to state the fact that the investigation itself in Tehran was carried out with insufficient quality, while, according to international law, no one except Iran has the right to conduct this investigation at the site of the disaster. The prosecutor’s office is seriously aimed at continuing the criminal case against, as I understand it, the Iranian authorities, the military authorities, etc. on this issue and establishing criminal facts in this catastrophe.
The process, unfortunately, is not supported by Iran’s goodwill and, accordingly, will go against their wishes. Let’s hope that the common will of Canada, Sweden, Ukraine – the entire coalition will be enough to politically apply the necessary pressure.
– Do you need more trips of Ukrainian specialists to Iran to continue the investigation on this issue? And can this be somehow organized in the current situation?
– There is no point in traveling to Iran. Not so long ago, we organized a trip for the families of the deceased crew members to the crash site, which they visited for the first time in two years, and from their words I know that there is no crash site as such, everything has been cleaned up. It’s just that there is a geographical place where it happened, the Iranian government installed some kind of memorial sign here. But there is nothing left to investigate at the very scene of the incident.
How do we, as an airline, plan to honor this tragic event? Kyiv gave us a site in a public garden in the Dniprovsky Hay (a small forest), which we have already partially landscaped. Trees have been planted there according to the number of dead passengers and crew members; in the spring it is planned to build a symbolic memorial. Now this place is already landscaped. And on January 8, we plan to invite there everyone who is ready to honor the memory of this tragic event, including representatives of the government and relatives of the families of the victims. Many of our workers who carry this pain in their hearts will surely come. We will continue to look after this park and support it as a place of memory.
– Iran avoids negotiations with the international coordination group on compensation for damage to the UIA aircraft. The Foreign Ministry noted that the coordination group will have to seriously consider other ways of resolving this issue within the framework of international law. How will UIA react if Ukraine files a claim with Iran at the UN International Court of Justice?
– This is a government decision. It’s hard for me to judge, but I think that any pressure that Ukraine can exert on Iran in this matter plays an important role.
After there was no fair solution to this disaster, we cannot say that the skies over Iran are safe for civil aviation. That is, Ukraine, taking into account this catastrophe, firmly estimates the sky over Iran as unsafe. None of Ukrainian airlines fly there and there are no plans to fly there. Therefore, maybe, at least by increasing legal pressure, a fair decision will be reached, there will be compensation for the country, the relatives of the victims, and the issue will be settled. This is important for civil aviation. Therefore, we welcome any attempts by the state to move forward on this issue.
– In fact, shortly after the Iranian tragedy, you received another blow – the beginning of the pandemic and an almost complete stop of air traffic between the countries from 2020. Airlines had to pay large amounts of compensation for canceled flights. Have you already settled with your clients on this issue?
– We, of course, did not have the opportunity to immediately pay our passengers all the tickets they had not used. But for almost a year and a half, they paid more than $ 55 million in money for unused tickets. At the same time, we also issued a huge number of flights to passengers with vouchers with an additional bonus of 25%, and in most cases they were already used on flights.
– If to take a percentage, how many of your customers chose a voucher, and how many – payment in cash?
– In total, during the pandemic in 2020-2021, UIA issued refunds for passengers for a total amount of about $ 57 million with “real” money. At the same time, vouchers (promotional codes) were issued for about the same amount, taking into account a 25% bonus. That is, in proportion over 60% of refunds were actually issued in cash. At the same time, the lion’s share of promotional codes has already been converted into tickets, but not all of them are used for the flight.
Today I can honestly say that my conscience before our passengers is clear. We really fulfilled all obligations. If there are any unfulfilled ones, then these are already processes of later cancellations, etc., but we will definitely execute them. After all, we have already proved to our passengers that we fulfill all obligations: either in the form of money (albeit later), or in the form of vouchers that can be used for other flights.
It is due to the fact that the calculations were carried out for a long time, that we were slowly able to practically “wash” $ 55 million out of the circulating assets and at the same time not “kill” the company. But it is still very difficult for us, so at the moment UIA needs to resolve financial issues to support the company in the winter.
– And what about the staff now? How much has these two years of the pandemic changed your approach to personnel policy?
– In the aviation world, people are the most valuable asset. I don’t even know in what other businesses people are such a valuable resource. After all, aviation competence is learned for a very long time and is expensive.
We regret that we were forced at a difficult time in 2020 and 2021 to carry out such a massive layoff, having reduced the staff by almost 40%. Before the pandemic, we had about 2,600 people, but due to the crisis provoked by COVID-19 in the aviation market, we had to reduce the staff to about 1,600 people.
However, we keep in touch with all our dismissed pilots and flight attendants, we know where they are, what they are doing. These are people who left the company not voluntarily, but they probably retained a certain loyalty to the company. And as soon as we begin to increase the volume of traffic, build up our fleet, first of all, we will begin to return these people as well. We are confident that the company will be able to return most of the employees who grew up in the company and are trained in the procedures for working at UIA, especially the young copilots.
This question is very sensitive and important for us. And we want to get back to growth as soon as possible so we can start getting our people back to work.
Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) presents its winter flight schedule.
As the press service of UIA reported on Wednesday, in particular, since the change of the schedule on October 31, UIA will continue operating domestic flights together with a partner airline to Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Zaporizhia and Ivano-Frankovsk, as well as its own regular flights to Odesa.
The airline will operate international flights on 26 routes. From Kyiv, in particular, UIA will fly to Amsterdam, London, Paris, Vilnius, Berlin, Baku, Chisinau, Rome, Milan, Larnaca, Athens, Geneva, Yerevan, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Dubai, Delhi, Cairo, Munich, Tbilisi, Istanbul and Prague. From Odesa it will fly to Istanbul and Tel Aviv. The company also plans to fly to Tel Aviv from Kharkiv and Dnipro.
In addition, in January 2022, UIA intends to increase the frequency of flights from Kyiv to Munich (additional flights on January 2, January 9 and January 16), Geneva (additional flights on January 2, January 3 and January 9) and Prague (additional flights from December 27 to December 30 and from January 3 to January 8).