Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has updated its New York flight plans, opting to resume flights in Spring. The announcement also confirms that the flight will be nonstop and operated by a widebody aircraft. This means the carrier will be scrapping the 13 hours, one-stop 737 route is had been planning for this winter.
The current delay means that UIA will likely stick to its original plans to not restart long-haul flights until April 2021. The carrier has been light on details about exactly when the Kyiv-New York route will resume, only saying that the route will resume next Spring and in time for the Easter holidays.
This puts the tentative date somewhere around mid- to end-March or possibly the first few days of April. Tickets are currently on sale from April 1st, 2021 on the UIA website for a daily return flight between the cities.
However, UIA has made it clear that these plans are subject to conditions and a final schedule will only be available closer to the resumption. The route also depends on a number of factors, especially connecting traffic, and in a statement, the airline said the following:
“UIA will closely monitor the economic recovery in the US and Ukraine as well as the global responses to the CoVid pandemic by the governments of these countries and Israel, and other European countries. Additional factors that will be given consideration include the political situation in the Caucasus, which has recently led to the cancellation of UIA flights to Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi, connecting flights important to the success of New York – Kyiv route.”
Widebody plane to make the hop
One relief to UIA passengers will be that the carrier has confirmed that the route will be non-stop and operated by a widebody aircraft. While this might sound routine, a few weeks ago the airline announced it would resume the route using a 737!
UIA planned to fly from Kyiv to New York with a stop in Keflavik, Iceland, for fuel, starting December 9th. Total flight time was over 12 and a half hours for this routing, which would become roughly 13 with boarding and deplaning. This is an awful lot of time to spend in a cramped 737-900ER economy seat and is three hours more than the usual hop.
Passengers who already have tickets can now modify their booking on the UIA website using the “Booking Management” option. For those who do plan to make the journey next year, it’s a huge positive to know the flight will be 9 hours and one a widebody (tentatively the 777).
Resuming international flights
While long-haul routes are out until next year, UIA has been resuming short and medium-haul international flights. In September, the carrier resumed flights to several Middle Eastern destinations, including Dubai, Tel Aviv, Cairo, and more. Popular European routes made a comeback too, with London Gatwick, Brussels, Prague, and more seeing flights from Kyiv.
For now, UIA’s New York plans remain unclear. The route is an important one for the carrier, with many using Kyiv as a hub, which means it will likely return next year. Exact details, however, are unlikely to come out before early 2021.
Have you flown with UIA before? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!