Ryanair’s decision to pull out of a deal with Ukraine in late 2017 will be a blow to the development of the country’s aviation sector. Experience has shown that as long as the market is dominated by Ukraine International Airlines, owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, there is little chance for market expansion. Nevertheless, there is some hope for 2018.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 opened a dark chapter in the history of Ukraine’s civil aviation sector, lighting a fuse that would see Donetsk International Airport razed to the ground and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot out of the sky. Though hostilities rumble on in the eastern Donbas region, life has gradually returned to normal for most Ukrainians. The number of passengers carried by local airlines grew 22 per cent in 2016 to reach 5.7 million – just shy of pre-conflict levels – thanks in large part to the flag-carrier Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) which has stepped up its role as a transit carrier linking Asia with Europe. Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport, UIA’s home base, accommodated more than ten million passengers last year and expects 20 million by 2023.
February 26, 2018 -