The Ministry of Infrastructure is considering the possibility of merging the aerodromes of Ukrainian airports with the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE), which provides air-traffic control services, avianews.com reports, citing the minutes of a meeting on ways of implementing the State Program for Development of Airports until 2023. The examples of Spain and Turkey are cited in support of such a merger.
UkSATSE’s acting First Deputy Director Serhii Hombolevskyi supported this proposal, saying that modernization of aerodromes requires loan resources and that UkSATSE is the most attractive enterprise to creditors in the Ukrainian civil aviation industry because it has sufficient financial viability and a positive credit history.
"Based on calculations of the enterprise’s medium-term revenues and subject to implementation of the aerodrome merger project, it can be concluded that such a merger will not have a negative impact on implementation of the enterprise’s own investment plans and that it will provide the necessary financial, administrative, and organizational resources for development of regional airports," Hombolevskyi is quoted as saying in the minutes of the meeting.
In an open letter, the Association of Air Traffic Control Trade Unions (ADOP) described such a proposal by its leadership as "criminal" at a time when belt-tightening measures have imposed as a result of the reduction in revenue caused by the reduction in the number of flights over Ukraine.
"Such actions and statements are contrary to the main objective of UkSATSE’s operations as a provider of air navigation services, as well as to the basic principles of Eurocontrol, with which Ukraine entered into cooperation on the basis of Ukrainian laws. Our trade unions categorically oppose attempts by some leaders to hang non-core assets onto UkSATSE and slip their hands into the enterprise’s pocket in order to implement their wonder projects," the letter states.
In connection with this, the association of trade unions demanded that measures be taken to withdraw the signature of Hombolevskyi, who is a former CEO of the Boryspil airport. They also demanded consideration of his fitness for his post, prevention of involvement of UkSATSE in the implementation of the program under the conditions specified in the protocol, and start of discussions with employees and trade unions on plans for future development of the enterprise.
UkSATSE’s head Dmytro Babiichuk recently said that the company had a revenue shortfall of EUR 126.5 million from air navigation services last year because of the annexation of the Crimea and the war in the Donbas.
The Ministry of Infrastructure told avianews.com that only a working draft and not the final draft of the project for merging Ukrainian airports’ airfields with UkSATSE is currently being considered.
According to the publication’s source in the industry, the idea of transferring airport terminals transmit to management companies is also being considered. This can result in a situation in which profitable infrastructure in which non-aviation revenues can be increased will end up in private hands while aerodromes requiring substantial investment will remain in the hands of the state.