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Ryanair Commits to Post-War Ukrainian Investment

A Ryanair 737 at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary was in Kyiv, Ukraine this week to outline Ryanair’s strategy to assist the country to recover once the war is over and airspace in the region is reopened for commercial aircraft.

“Ryanair was Ukraine’s 2nd largest airline before the unlawful Russian invasion in Feb 2022,” said Mr. O’Leary. “Once the skies over Ukraine have reopened for commercial aviation, Ryanair will charge back into Ukraine linking the main Ukraine airports with over 20 EU (European Union) capitals, and we are working closely with the Ukrainian Government to rebuild Ukraine’s aviation, industry and its economy.”

The commitment given by Ryanair is that operations to and from the main airports of Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa will commence within eight weeks of the reopening of airspace. Though the conflict is still ongoing, Mr. O’Leary outlined the airline’s plan post-war is “to invest heavily in Ukraine and lead this aviation recovery by investing up to $3 billion and basing up to 30 new Boeing MAX aircraft at Ukraine’s 3 main airports in Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa.”

Growing Capacity 

The level of capacity detailed by the airline will see 600 weekly flights operating from the 3 main airports both domestically and internationally. This will amount to over five million seats in the first 12 months of post-war operation rising to 10 million per annum over a five-year period. Prior to the conflict Ryanair also operated from Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Kherson airports and Mr. O’Leary stated that “Ryanair will return to serving those airports too, as soon as the infrastructure has been restored.”

Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine and Minister for Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov met with Mr. O’Leary and members of the airline’s senior management team. Mr. Kubrakov outlined the importance of the Ryanair Group’s commitment to the post-war strategy of Ukraine. “Maintaining the operability of the aviation infrastructure and personnel vocational skills remains vital for us in the conditions of war. Meanwhile, the resumption of flights will be possible as soon as the security situation allows. However, we are already working on solutions and investment plans to enable aircraft to fly up quickly. I am grateful for the leadership in the recovery of our aviation industry, for the specific proposals and decisions of Ryanair, a loyal partner of Ukraine.”

Together the group toured Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport in what the airport’s CEO Oleksiy Dubrevskyy called “a powerful signal that the largest airline in Europe sees huge potential in the Ukrainian air transport market.”

Mr. Dubrevskyy added: “We, meanwhile, are ready to move from strategic planning to specific operational actions when the airspace becomes open and safe for civil aviation. I strongly believe that Boryspil Airport will remain the main air gate for the return of our citizens to Ukraine and will continue to play a leading role in the recovery of the Ukrainian economy.”

John Flett

Author

  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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