The governor of the Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili, has accused the State Aviation Service’s head Denys Antoniuk of bias during allocation of air routes and said that he intends to demand that the Minister of Infrastructure dissolve the commission for allocation of routes. Saakashvili was speaking at a meeting of this commission on Friday, 26 June, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports.
"You are making decisions that are not allowing the market to develop, and you are telling me that you live on one salary. I do not believe you," he told Antoniuk during a discussion of the issue of allocation of air routes to Odessa.
Saakashvili noted that prices on the Odessa-Kiev route, which are currently not lower than USD 200, should be much lower. "I have only one interest – for people to fly cheaper and it cannot be cheaper when the allocations go to a single company," Saakashvili said.
The State Aviation Service’s commission recommended that Antoniuk reject the Atlasjet Ukraine airline’s application to operate flights on the Odessa-Istanbul route and allocate seven flights per week to Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).
According to a representative of the commission, the commission made the decision on a competitive basis: UIA scored 40 points while Atlasjet scored 8.8.
Atlasjet Ukraine’s head Serhii Pidhorodetskyi called the decision anticompetitive and said that it generally "buried the aviation industry."