Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has launched a large-scale program of direct flights from Lviv to other cities. The first flights are on the Lvov-Tel Aviv route, which began on Wednesday, 20 May, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports.

The carrier also said in a press release that it plans to launch flights from Lviv to Odessa, Rome, Bologna, and Madrid.

Two aircraft – a Boeing 737 and an Embraer 190 – with business and economy classes will be operated on the Lviv-Tel Aviv route. The flights will be performed once a week on Wednesdays from 20 May to 16 September 2015. Departure from Lviv will be at 17:40 and arrival in Tel Aviv at 21:00. The return flight will depart at 22:00 and arrive in Lvov at 01:30.

Prices of roundtrip tickets for the economy class (including all fees and taxes) start at UAH 6,561 from Lvov and USD 321 from Tel Aviv.

Founded in 1992, the UIA is the largest airline company in Ukraine. It is based at the Boryspil airport in Kiev. It has a fleet of 32 aircraft: 28 medium- and four long-haul aircraft.

As reported, the Ministry of Infrastructure decided on 2 April to implement the Common Aviation Area agreement with other countries (the Open Skies agreement) unilaterally at the Lvov international airport as an experiment. According to Infrastructure Minister Andrii Pyvovarskyi, any air carrier will be able to fly to Lvov freely if it has permission from the aviation authorities in its home country. Ukraine’s State Aviation Service asked foreign low-cost airlines to launch flights to Lviv and asked the authorities in several countries to lift their restrictions on such flights. However, this has not yet enticed new foreign carriers to the Lvov airport.

The Ministry of Infrastructure also expects the launch flights to/from Lviv by Atlasjet Ukraine airline company, which has been unable to begin operations on the Ukrainian market for about one year because of a dispute over the distribution of air routes.