The first flight of the national air carrier Ukrainian National Airlines (UNA) will be in 2022, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
“The first flight of the national carrier will be performed in 2022. By 2025, the airline’s fleet will be completed – at least 20 aircraft. Regular flights, both internal and external, will be launched,” the head of state said, speaking in the Verkhovna Rada with his annual nation address.
He also added that the Ukrainian carrier should be seen not only in Ukraine, but all over the world. And this, according to him, will be greatly helped by the Common Aviation Area Agreement, which Ukraine signed with the European Union.
“Therefore, UNA will definitely land in the EU. And such great plans are really inspiring,” he said.
Speaking about the construction of airports, the president said that now it is underway in 16 cities of the country. “We also want to build an international airport in Zakarpattia region, between Uzhgorod and Mukachevo, and two airports in eastern Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
Airports of Ukraine in January-August 2021, according to operational data, serviced 9.77 million passengers, which is 65.7% more than in January-August 2020.
As reported on the website of the State Aviation Service of Ukraine on Thursday, international passenger traffic of airports for the specified period grew by 69.2%, to 8.831 million people.
Ukrainian airlines served 6.089 million people in the first eight months of 2021, which is 96.1% more than in the first eight months of 2020, including international traffic of 5.626 million people (more than doubled).
At the same time, in January-July 2021, airlines performed 47,800 commercial flights (an increase of 68.9%), including 38,800 international (a rise of 70.9%).
As reported, at the end of 2020, Ukrainian airports serviced 8.664 million passengers, which is 64.4% less than in 2019.
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SkyUp (Kiev) has expanded its fleet with a medium-haul Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, increasing its fleet of aircraft to 12 units.
According to the press service of the company, the new aircraft is designed for 215 passengers and will operate flights on all routes in the airline’s schedule. This is the fourth aircraft of this model in its fleet.
“The aircraft, produced in 2008, arrived in Ukraine in the branded SkyUp livery. Also on board are seats of the British brand Acro, which provide more space between the rows for a convenient flight of passengers, and the wings are equipped with split winglets Split Scimitar to save fuel and improve aerodynamics,” the report says.
The aircraft received the state registration number UR-SQL.
Currently, along with the new aircraft, the SkyUp Airlines fleet includes 12 medium-haul aircraft: two Boeing 737-700 NGs with 149 seats, six Boeing 737-800 NGs with 189 seats, four Boeing 737-900 ERs with 215 seats.
By the end of summer, the company plans to replenish its fleet with one more aircraft.
The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine under the leadership of ex-minister Vladyslav Krykliy has failed to implement a program of state support for Ukrainian airlines that carried out evacuation flights during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
“We prepared the logic of compensation and relevant initiatives, submitted it to the Cabinet of Ministers. Then the Ministry of Finance refused with the classic explanation – there is no money. But they promised to return as soon as possible … But this is not even direct funding, but a loyalty program for airport and air navigation services … But even so we were not allowed to realize this,” Krykliy said in an interview with the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
He also noted that the issue of compensation to air carriers for 2020 is “not about reforms, but about justice.”
According to Krykliy, absolutely all countries in Europe help their air carriers, but this item was not included in the priorities of the Ukrainian government.
As reported, earlier the Ministry of Infrastructure planned to provide targeted assistance to state airports to create discount programs for airlines that participated in the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens during the first wave of the pandemic lockdown.
Flynas Airlines (Saudi Arabia) enters the Ukrainian market with regular flights between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.
The Infrastructure Ministry of Ukraine said on Facebook that on May 31 a meeting was held between Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov and CEO of Flynas Bander Al-Mohanna.
“Each new flight is, first of all, new opportunities for development of business, tourism and Ukraine’s integration into world markets. That is why the increase in regular routes of direct flights is among the priorities of the ministry. We want Ukraine to become a major international air hub, and such steps make us closer to this goal,” Kubrakov said.
Previously, Ukraine did not have regular direct flights with Saudi Arabia. For the flight, a transfer was needed through Istanbul, Doha or Dubai.
Flynas is Saudi Arabia’s leading low cost airline with a fleet of 30 aircraft. The airline operates over 1,200 flights weekly to 35 domestic and international destinations. The airline has recently entered into an agreement with Airbus to purchase 120 new aircraft for a total value of $8.6 billion.