Ukraine and Moldova have not yet come to an agreement on liberalization of air links between the two countries. The reason for this is that Moldova is insisting on lifting of the restrictions on the movement of Moldovan vehicles on transit through the territory of Ukraine in exchange for conclusion of an “open skies” agreement.

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Viktor Dovhan announced this to the CFTS portal.

Previously, the aviation services of the two countries were expected to sign before 1 October 2016 an agreement on liberalization of flights between the two countries based on the terms of the Open Skies agreement between Moldova and the European Union, which provides for increasing the frequency of flights operated by Ukrainian carriers. The relevant protocol was signed in Chisinau at the end of July.

However, the two sides had not yet agreed their positions as of 14 October. A meeting of the Ukrainian-Moldovan working group on transport was held in Kyiv on 6 October, during which amendments to the agreements on road and air transport were initialed. Now, the governments of the two countries need to undergo the relevant internal approval procedures.

In comments to the CFTS portal, Dovhan said that the delay in amending the abovementioned agreements was because Moldova wants its vehicles to be able to travel on transit through Ukraine without the relevant permits. However, according to him, Ukraine is not interested in this because the ratio of the transit quotas between Moldova and Ukraine is currently about 70% to 30% respectively.

"They do not want us to fully open the air to us. We are not giving them transit without vehicular permits. We plan permit-free transit and bilateral movement for motor vehicles that have certificates not lower than Euro-3," the deputy minister said. Earlier, he said that in addition to trucks, Moldova wanted to extend the lifting of restrictions to the movement of passenger vehicles.

Resolution of the issue is also influenced by politics: presidential elections in Moldova are scheduled for 30 October, and the subsequent position of Moldova on the "Open Skies" agreement and the issue of lifting restrictions on trucking could depend on the outcome of these elections.

"We will see how their presidential elections go and then plan a meeting of prime ministers for November," Dovhan said.

Accordingly, a decision on liberalization of air links with Moldova is unlikely to be approved before the middle of November.