Ukraine International To Resume Long Haul Flights In April 2021

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is not planning to resume its long-haul operations until April 2021. The airline is gradually rebuilding its network but its current routes UIA flies are all short- and medium-haul services. The current demand environment is not favorable for long-haul flights.

Ukraine International Airlines is not planning on conducting any scheduled commercial long-haul flights until April 2021. Photo: Getty Images

UIA’s current route offerings

UIA is currently offering a robust array of short- and medium-haul operations in Europe and the Middle East. The airline is planning on expanding its operations further this month into North Africa, the Caucasus, and Europe.

Thus far, UIA is currently flying to the following destinations from its hub in Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport (KBP):

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Nice (NCE)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Istanbul (IST)
  • Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Milan (MXP)
  • Munich (MUC)

From Odesa, UIA is flying to:

  • Istanbul (IST)
  • Tel Aviv (TLV)

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Beyond this, UIA is also flying a full domestic schedule connecting Kyiv (KBP), Lviv (LWO), Odesa (ODS), and Kherson (KHE). Below is a map of UIA’s current flight operations:

UIA operations
UIA’s current operations. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

This month, UIA will expand its route network to connect Kyiv to Yerevan (EVN), Madrid (MAD), and Cairo (CAI). There is still plenty of room for UIA to grow. Some missing destinations include Ankara, Athens, Rome, Helsinki, Prague, Vienna, and more.

No long-haul operations until April 2021

UIA will operate two roundtrip flights between Kyiv and Toronto (YYZ). However, beyond that, the airline will not be flying any scheduled commercial long-haul flights. There are still options for the carrier to conduct repatriation flights.

UIA 767
UIA is focused on a point-to-point model for now. Photo: Getty Images

UIA explains that its current strategy is a point-to-point business model that “does not always provide sustainable passenger traffic.” In a press release viewed by Simple Flying, UIA’s president, Eugene Dykhne stated the following:

“In the first stage of the recovery, UIA needs to operate primary routes with strong business and point-to-point traffic. UIA will work closely with partner airlines to transport passengers to major hub airports for additional connections to and from Ukraine. As governmental restrictions begin to ease, UIA plans to return to the hub model in April 2021 and restore the route network by at least 80% and will include long-haul flights to New York (JFK), Toronto (YYZ) and Delhi (DEL).”

In the meantime, UIA’s team will continue to monitor any changes for travel regulations and maximize its flight network as much as possible.

UIA’s move makes sense

It is already August. There are few chances of the situation in the United States improving and, the historically strong connecting market UIA has shuffling passengers from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and India to North America, the airline is waiting to leverage those connections to ensure it is not making large losses on those flights.

EASA issues warning over iranian air space
UIA’s current routes are mainly served with Boeing 737 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

With the fall and winter fast approaching, when demand is historically at some of its weakest points, there is little incentive for UIA to open up long-haul flights. Most carriers are reporting a significant decline in demand for long-haul international travel. By waiting until April, UIA has time to wait for governmental travel restrictions to ease, and a more favorable season for international travel arises.

Do you think UIA is making the right move by delaying its long-haul resumptions to 2021? Let us know in the comments!