Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) has offered to hold talks on the issue of air links between Russia and Ukraine. Rosaviatsia has received requests from the Atlasjet Ukraine (AtlasGlobal) and UTair Ukraine airlines for permission to operate flights to Russian cities during the 2015/2016 winter flying season. Atlasjet Ukraine is seeking permission to operate flights from Kiev to Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as from Odessa to Moscow, while UTair Ukraine is seeking permission to operate flights from Kiev and Lvov to Moscow, Rosaviatsia said in a statement.
Atlasjet Ukraine requested permission to operate flights to these destinations, citing the “long family and socio-economic ties between citizens of Ukraine and Russia” and the fact that “an urgent need to establish direct air links for the benefit of citizens of both countries has arisen."
Rosaviatsia has sent to the State Aviation Service of Ukraine a letter in which it proposed holding immediate talks at any location convenient for the Ukrainian side. “The Federal Air Transport Agency expects the pragmatic proposals made by Ukrainian airlines themselves to prevail over politicized decisions," Rosaviatsia said.
In response to this letter from Rosaviatsia, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Andrii Pyvovarskyi said that the Ukrainian side was ready to hold talks and that the time and place of the talks would be announced later.
Andrii Huk, a lawyer for Atlasjet Ukraine, commented on the statement by Rosaviatsia. "AtlasGlobal opposes decisions that are contrary to the interests of Ukraine and its foreign policy. As a lawyer, I am convinced that with Rosaviatsia the State Aviation Service will not enter into questionable compromises for the sake of allowing AtlasGlobal to fly to Russia in case of negotiations. In particular, I consider violation of Ukraine’s airspace unacceptable. However, the company is willing to provide direct links from the Ukrainian side if a compromise that does not harm the interests of the state is reached," Huk said, expressing the position of Atlasjet Ukraine.
As reported, a decree that President Petro Poroshenko signed on 16 September introduced the National Security and Defense Council’s decision of 2 September that imposed sanctions on Russia. The sanctions list includes major Russian airlines such as Aeroflot, Transaero, and S7 Airlines, as well as smaller airlines. The UTair airline, which did not operate flights to the Crimea, is the only major Russian airline not on the sanctions list. On 25 September, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to ban the Russian airlines on the sanctions list from flying to Ukraine from 25 October, the beginning of the winter flying season.
On 29 September, it emerged that Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency has decided to ban Ukrainian airlines from flying to Russia from 25 October. Ukraine said that Russia unjustifiably imposed sanctions on Ukrainian airlines because Ukrainian airlines did not violate any rules. A few days later, the State Aviation Service also banned all Russian airlines from flying to Ukraine.