Ukraine International Plans Anniversary Flight Over Chernobyl

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is planning a special sightseeing flight over Chernobyl this month. The flight marks the eve of the 35th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in the city, which remains nearly empty even today. In addition to seeing the nuclear plant, passengers will also get other exciting opportunities. Let’s find out more.

Ukraine International Airlines
UIA first began flying sightseeing flights in February, hoping to capitalize on pent-up demand to fly. Photo: Ukraine International Airlines

Flight to nowhere

Ukraine International has become one of the more recent carrier to jump on the “flights to nowhere” trend. On April 25th, UIA will hold its third sightseeing flight, followed by one each in February and March. While the flights have occurred before, this time UIA is coinciding the flight date to make the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (26th April).

However, unlike other airlines’ sightseeing flights, UIA is using one of its smaller aircraft for the special flight. The carrier is deploying one of its Embraer E195s for the 90-minute journey over Kyiv, Chernobyl, and Pripyat. The flight will depart and return from Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport.

Ukraine International Airlines Embraer E195
UIA will deploy one of its new E195s on the sightseeing route, just as the last two times as well. Photo: Ukraine International Airlines

Tickets are limited and usually sell out extremely quickly for these UIA sightseeing flights, so move quickly if you are interested and can travel. The price is fairly reasonable, with tickets with meals costing $106 (UAH2970) per passenger. However, in addition to just the flight, passengers get other opportunities too.

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For those lucky enough to secure tickets, it will certainly be a fun day. Passengers will have to reach Kyiv Airport by 10:00 AM local time to check-in for their flight. The flight departs at 11:00 AM and takes a scenic route over Kyiv and the Dnipro river, followed by a flight over Pripyat (a town near the nuclear plant), and finally, over Chernobyl.

The flight over Chernobyl will be at an altitude of 900m (2,950 feet), the minimum allowable height in the city due to restrictions. Passengers will get a chance to see the remnants of the city from a birds-eye view, usually a rare opportunity.

Ukraine Airlines UIA Boeing 777
Passengers can tour UIA’s flagship 777 and interact with pilots afterward. Photo: Getty Images

After returning to Boryspil Airport, passengers will have the chance to tour one of the UIA’s Boeing 777s. The tour will include visiting the cockpit and a Q&A session with pilots to ask them about anything to do with aviation! There will also be a drawing of prizes at the end of the day (at 14:40 local time), which includes the chance to win UIA souvenirs and a one-day tour of Chernobyl.

Big summer

While UIA is currently keeping busy with flights to nowhere, the carrier has big plans for the summer season. Ukraine International hopes to restore its entire network by this summer and has already begun ramping up international flights. The coming months will likely see UIA make a recovery as travel slowly picks up around the world.

What do you think about UIA’s planned sightseeing flight? Let us know in the comments!