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Ukraine International Airlines Cuts Flights As Government Extends Entry Ban
Following a Ukrainian government decision restricting foreign visitors entering Ukraine until Sept. 28, Ukraine International Airlines will cancel flights to nine destinations and reduce frequencies on six routes. The Ukrainian state’s policy enforces a temporary ban on the entry of foreigners to the country with some exceptions.
Between Aug. 29 and Sept. 28, most foreign travelers will not be able to enter Ukraine. According to the airline, the border shut-down will have a damaging impact on Ukraine’s aviation industry that had already been financially weakened and in critical condition due to ongoing pandemic.
“We must now decide on the airline’s plans for the next month, without having enough time or information,” stated Yevhen Dykhne, CEO of Ukraine International Airlines. “As we wait for the specifics of the resolution, UIA will make a decision on what flights to cancel, based on the information contained. We are considering several options, including a radical one that will best serve the airline, its staff and its passengers.”
The airline, which had not yet completely reinstated its usual network because of the crisis, relies heavily on foreign travelers as 60% of the passengers it carries are visitors traveling to and from Ukraine.
The cuts will mostly impact some of the airline’s key international routes. Starting from Sept. 14, the airline will cancel flights from the airline’s Kiev, Ukraine base to Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Geneva, Delhi and Berlin. Ukraine’s national airline will also have to reduce frequencies on flights to Istanbul, Dubai, Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv and Dusseldorf, Germany.
According to the Ukrainian State Aviation Service, in the first half of 2020, the carrier flew around 1 million passengers, which is four times less than the same period last year.
Between January and July, the volume of passenger traffic of Ukrainian carriers dropped by 69% compared to the same period last year. The country’s airline companies transported 2 million passengers during the period, marking an approximately 70% drop compared to the previous year. Considering 1.8 million of these passengers were on international flights, the entry ban-related flight cuts and frequency reductions will further hit the flag carrier of Ukraine.
The entry ban came as the government’s resolution to prolong the coronavirus quarantine until Oct. 31 as the number of infections continue to surge in the country. Ukraine posted 2,481 new cases and 41 fatalities on Aug. 30.
Last week, Ukraine International Airlines also canceled flights to some other core European destinations as the European Union extended COVID-19 travel restrictions. The airline will not operate flights to Venice, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Zurich, Frankfurt, Vienna and Warsaw in September.
Based in Boryspil International Airport, UIA operates flights to 80 destinations in Europe, North America and Asia.
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