The bankruptcy of the AeroSvit airline company - the only carrier that performed long-haul flights - has led to a redistribution of European destinations, but it has left a number of Asian and North American routes empty. The situation has played into the hands of Ukrainian airline companies’ competitors in neighboring countries. Passengers deprived of direct flights have started getting to their destinations by transferring to foreign hubs. "I attribute the effect in Southeast Asia specifically to the departure of AeroSvit. Transit to the United States and Canada has always existed, and transit to Europe was fairly stable. The pace of growth of transit, apart from Southeast Asia, has always been steady at about 15%. Southeast Asia has become a new direction for us," said Russian-based Transaero airline company former general director Olga Pleshakova. In particular, according to her, the demand for such destinations as Thailand and Vietnam increased significantly in the first quarter of 2013.
On their part, Ukrainian airline companies do not intend to leave the vacant niche empty. For example, the UTair Ukraine airline company plans to begin charter flights to the capitals of Thailand and India. As UTair Ukraine’s General Director Yurii Blazhenkov told the Center for Transport Strategies, the airline company is considering the possibility of boosting its fleet with Boeing 767 long-range airliners. However, the head of UTair Ukraine did not specify how many airplanes would join the company’s fleet. He also did not state the time of arrival of the airplanes.
The Windrose airline company also intends to explore the segment of long-haul flights. The company will begin operating charter flights to Bangkok and Punta Cana at the end of October this year. "We will have received the first Airbus 330 long-range aircraft by that time,” the press service of the company told the Center for Transport Strategies. According to a representative Windrose, tickets to these destinations are already on sale. Flights to Thailand will be operated from October 23 and flights to the Dominican Republic from October 25.
UTair Ukraine plans to begin charter flights to the capitals of Thailand and India
The airline company’s plans include operation of flights to two more long-distance destinations. For example, according to a representative of Windrose, the airline company also intends to begin flights to destinations such as Goa and Ho Chi Minh City in 2014. The second Airbus 330 is expected to arrive in the same period. It should be recalled that a May 31 decision by the committee responsible for government policy on the operation of airlines also granted Windrose the right to launch flights on the Kyiv-Colombo route.
The Kharkiv Airlines will also operate long-haul flights. The company presently has only one airplane designed for such flights - a Boeing 767-300ER. "Launch of fights to Goa (India) and Bangkok (Thailand) is planned. Initially, all flights to the stated resort destinations (the existing destinations and the one to which the company plans to operate flights in the future) will be operated in close cooperation with the tour operator Pegas Touristik. The issue of organizing regular passenger flights in the future is being considered," the airline company said in a press release.
The plans of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), which is the new leader on the Ukrainian aviation market, are not clear. On the one hand, the carrier has repeatedly declared its interest in long-distance destinations. At the same time, the head of its supervisory board, Aron Mayberg, recently said that the conditions under which the company operates were not quite favorable for the launch of such flights. This explains the delay on the part of UIA.
What will happen now is uncertain because the carrier has not yet confirmed or denied Ukrainian media reports that it is about to increase its fleet with four Boeing 767 long-distance airplanes that were previously operated by AeroSvit. These long-distance airplanes from AeroSvit’s fleet are currently idling on a ramp at the Boryspil airport in Kyiv.
Nevertheless, direct long-haul flights from Ukraine will be gradually restored, and they will be operated not by only one company this time.