Ukraine Working for Resumption of Air Travel

Thu Jan 18 2024
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KYIV: Ukraine is actively collaborating with partners to resume air travel, which has been suspended for nearly two years after Russia’s invasion.

The top priority on Boryspil International Airport outside the capital Kyiv, said a presidential official on Thursday.

Russia’s invasion in February 2022 led to the abrupt closure of Ukraine’s airspace due to security concerns for civil aviation. Visitors to Ukraine have since had to rely on road or rail transportation from neighboring countries.

The restoration of air travel is viewed by Kyiv as a crucial step towards economic recovery. Rostyslav Shurma, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, shared insights during a panel discussion in Davos, stating, “I don’t want to create over-expectations… but I can tell you we are working very intensively to recover the air connection in Ukraine.” Shurma did not provide a specific timeline but mentioned that Ukraine has an internal roadmap and schedule.

He said in his statement that consultations with Israeli colleagues on technical specifications for the restoration process are underway, with a focus on leveraging Israel’s experience in deploying air defense systems. Shurma highlighted the need for approvals from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), emphasizing the importance of bold decisions from international partners.

Marsh’s CEO, John Doyle, suggested that an insurance program for grain shipments through the Black Sea corridor could serve as a blueprint for restoring air travel. He mentioned, “The near-term focus is moving past that Unity facility (for grain shipments), using that as a blueprint to support other aspects of the economy. Travel is an important part of it, and that’s going to be part of our focus over the coming months.”

While considering the possibility of reopening either Boryspil airport or another in the western region of Lviv, Shurma emphasized that the international hub near Kyiv remained the priority. In December, Boryspil demonstrated its operational capability with the departure of a Boeing 777-300 on a technical flight.

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