Ukraine Plans To Launch A New Airline Alongside Airbus

Ukraine’s President has unveiled a plan for its country to establish a state airline that will most likely be called Ukrainian National Airlines. The country has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus that will see it operate Airbus A220, A320, and A330 or A350 aircraft.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing Aircraft
Ukraine International Airlines is the flag carrier of Ukraine but it is privately owned. Photo: Getty Images

Ukraine to launch a new national airline

The Ukrainian government is set to launch a new state airline by 2022 for the purpose of taking greater control of the country’s aviation industry.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, revealed the plans at a symposium at Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport, and they were confirmed in a statement seen by Simple Flying.

The President’s motivation for pressing ahead with the launch of a brand new state airline comes from the fact that he believes the country was too reliant on private airlines to repatriate its citizens at the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The plan involves a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ukraine and Airbus for the purchase or lease of 18 narrow-body and four wide-body aircraft.

The statement supplementing the Memorandum of Understanding reveals that the fleet of Ukrainian National Airlines will likely consist of the following:

  • Six Airbus A220 aircraft
  • 12 Airbus A320 family aircraft
  • Four Airbus A330 or A350 aircraft

Airbus’s sales chief for central Europe, Kimon Sotiropoulos, said that the airline’s launch from scratch with new technology means the airline will start off its operations with a low carbon footprint.

Furthermore, the Memorandum of Understanding leaves scope for Ukraine and Airbus to cooperate on the country’s aerospace industry.

Antonov An-225 Getty
Ukraine is the home of the Antonov An-225. Photo: Getty Images

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A major step forward for Ukraine

Ukraine already has a thriving aviation industry, but this is nevertheless a major step forward for the country.

Ukraine plans to invest as much as $1.3 billion in the development of its aviation sector between 2021 and 2030.

The government is keen that the new state airline does not monopolize the market, and the country’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said that it should become profitable within five years.

The main competitor to Ukrainian National Airlines will be the privately-owned Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), which currently acts as the country’s flag carrier.

Ukraine International Airlines is owned by billionaire Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi on whom the US imposed sanctions in March 2021 for his alleged involvement in large-scale corruption in the country.

Ryanair, Wizz, easyjet
There is increasingly a heavy LCC presence in Ukraine as well. Photo: Getty Images

Aviation is booming in Ukraine

Ukraine has seen a flurry of new route launches recently after the country signed an open skies agreement with the European Union in October.

Not even one day after the agreement was signed, Wizz Air reacted with a major expansion. The Hungary-based airline group announced it would base an additional seven aircraft in the country by summer 2022 and that it would launch an incredible 26 new routes from four Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian also saw Bees Airline, a Ukrainian startup, launching flights from Odesa to Prague in October.

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