Ukraine International Operates Chernobyl Sightseeing Flights To Nowhere

Ukrainian International Airlines, “at the numerous requests of beloved passengers,” is launching a low-altitude, scenic “flight to nowhere” over Kyiv and towards the site of the notorious Chernobyl disaster. In fact, after announcing the offer on February 12th, the single March 7th E195 flight sold out and prompted the airline to offer a second flight for March 13th. Let’s look at what the airline has planned.

E195 UIA
It was nearly two years ago, on March 12th, 2019, that Ukraine International welcomed to its fleet a medium-haul Embraer E195. The plane received the registration number UR-EMG and became the 6th aircraft of the Embraer brand in the UIA fleet. Photo: UIA

“Ukraine International Airlines, at the numerous requests of beloved passengers and just those who miss flying under quarantine conditions, is opening sales for the only unique sightseeing flight “Flight over Kyiv – the world through the eyes of a pilot.” – UIA Website

Ukraine at 900 meters

First announced on UIA’s website (location settings must be set to ‘Ukraine’), the airline has launched what it calls a unique Ukrainian project. What the airline calls a ‘real spring gift,’ the flight is set to take place on March 7th.

The airline’s announcement of this scenic “flight to nowhere” will utilize the carrier’s new (or more accurately, newly acquired) Embraer E195. Flying at a low altitude of 900 meters, the aircraft will fly along the Dnipro river, “along the route in the direction of the mysterious Chernobyl.”

For anyone unaware of the history of Chernobyl, it’s the site of one of the worst nuclear reactor catastrophes in human history. The disaster took place in 1986, and the area has remained undeveloped due to high radioactivity levels in the area. However, the “exclusion zone” has become a popular “dark tourist” destination in Ukraine in recent years.

UIA Chernobyl
The site of the Chernobyl disaster site is about 100km north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Photo: Google Maps

Not mentioned by UIA’s website, Aero.de adds that the tour will also overfly the Antonov factory airfield in Gostomel, home of the An-225 Mriya. The German media site also notes that the flight will have a duration of about one hour and 10 minutes.

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What’s included in the tour?

UIA goes on to say that the tour guides on the flight will be real UIA pilots, accompanying passengers in the cabin to provide personal aviation stories. These pilot-tour guides will also be able to answer any aviation-related questions along the way.

Also included in the roughly $95 ticket price is the following:

  • A tour of a UIA Boeing 777 on the apron of the Kyiv Boryspil Airport;
  • An opportunity to take photos in the cockpit;
  • The opportunity to take selfies with the pilot;
  • “Drawing” of souvenirs and gifts (which we assume is a lottery draw)
UIA 777
Ticketholders will also get a tour of the UIA 777 on the ground. Photo: Dara Zarbaf via Wikimedia Commons 

It looks like UIA received such a popular response from offering the scenic tour that it had to lay on a second flight experience. Selling out in just three days, the first flight will take place on March 7th, with the second on March 13th. It’s unknown at this time if there are still spots available on the second flight.

“Aviation has always been fascinating. For us, this is a sign that everyone missed flights and the sky, just like we do. In addition, for us, employees of the airline, this is a signal that the ‘behind the scenes’ of aviation is very interesting for our passengers. And we with the UIA creative team promise to move in this direction in the future. We are already preparing new interesting projects,” –Bogdan Skotnykov, head of the “Flight over Kyiv” project via UIA

Ukraine International Operates Chernobyl Sightseeing Flights To Nowhere
UIA, through its partners, also has a land-based Chernobyl tour. These range from one or two-day private or group tours to Chornobyl and Prypiat, to two-day all-inclusive tours for small groups, or even three-to-five-day private photo tours. Photo: Paweł ‘pbm’ Szubert via Wikimedia Commons

Our guess is that the airline probably wouldn’t say no to holding additional flights if the demand is there. Those interested can inquire via email – although we’re guessing that it will all take place in Ukrainian. Still, the opportunity of seeing Kyiv, Chernobyl, and part of the Ukrainian landscape at 900 meters sounds like a fairly unique opportunity!

Would you book a spot on one of these flights if you could? Let us know in the comments.

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