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Ukraine International Airlines Begins Bankruptcy Proceedings

The carrier has flown next to zero passengers since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Ukraine International Airlines, the flag carrier of Ukraine, has entered bankruptcy proceedings after being sued by Ukreximbank, a Ukrainian state-owned bank. The move comes about a month after the airline began selling off assets below market value to pay off its debts, which total $568 million.

The airline paused commercial passenger operations after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The airline has not operated regularly scheduled flights under its own name in nearly two years and thus has had near zero revenue.

Ukraine International Airlines has found ways to bring in some money. It leased some of its aircraft to airBaltic soon after Russia’s invasion began, but none of the aircraft operated after September 2022 in large part due to disputes between the two companies.

Some of Ukraine International’s aircraft have been fully transferred to airlines in other countries and de-registered to other carriers, domestic or otherwise. Leasing companies also recalled a number of aircraft to protect them from damage.

Flying around Ukraine has been a challenge since Russia invaded the country last year. Most countries barred their airlines from entering the country over concerns that aircraft would be damaged. One of Ukraine International’s aircraft was shot down over Iran in 2020, making it especially challenging for them to operate normally during wartime.

Russia Targeting Aviation Infrastructure

Russia has not been shy to target Ukraine’s aviation facilities, including the famed Antonov AN-225 soon after the war began. Air travel can be a vital air link to get critical wartime supplies into the country – and civilians out. Ukraine’s airports stopped operating for non-military flights after the invasion began.

Even without overt attacks, since so many Ukrainians left the country after the invasion began, and the country’s tourism is so decimated, that demand for air travel into and out of the country is near zero.

John McDermott

Author

  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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