Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will stop operating flights between Kyiv and Astana on October 27, but the airline’s passengers will be able to fly to Kazakhstan under a code-sharing agreement with Air Astana on routes to Almaty and Nur-Sultan.
The airline announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.
According to the airline, the decision to end flights on this route is connected with the unprofitability of the flights due to the need for flights to bypass the territory of the Russian Federation.
"The ban on the use of the airspace of the Russian Federation by Ukrainian carriers has led to a significant increase in the duration of Kyiv-Almaty flights – from 5 hours 20 minutes to 6 hours 35 minutes – and, accordingly, the additional costs that are impossible to cover even when the effect transit flights are taken into account," the company said.
According to UIA, its losses from flights to Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), which were terminated in December 2018, amounted to USD 7.28 million.
“The decision is a necessary and logical one. It is due to the difficulties associated with implementation of the hub model that have been repeatedly announced. Losses of more than USD 7 million do not allow us to continue to operate a loss-making flight,” UIA’s President Yevhen Dykhne said.
From 2013 to 2019, the carrier performed 2,120 flights on the Kyiv-Almaty-Kyiv route, transported 528,500 passengers and 3,600 tons of cargo and mail, and provided an additional transit flow of 380,000 passengers at the Boryspil airport.
The company said that the timetable for code-share flights between Kyiv and Almaty would allow retention of only part of the transit opportunities on the company’s route network.
“The closure of the flight violates the airline’s hub model, but it is a necessary measure designed to return the company to profitability,” the airline said.