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Ban on flights to Zaporizhia Airport extended until December 23

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The ban on flights to and from the airport of Zaporizhia, which was earlier introduced by the Ukrainian aviation regulator, has been extended until December 23, 2014, according to Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).

A corresponding Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been filed, the company said.

At Zaporizhia Airport, UIA handles only a charter flight to Egypt (Hurghada) on Saturdays. This flight will be redirected to Kyiv due to the extension of the ban.

UIA passengers who will arrive from Hurghada on Saturday will be taken from Kyiv to Zaporizhia by bus, and those who're flying to Hurghada will be bused from Zaporizhia to Kyiv.

As was reported, the State Aviation Service of Ukraine at 00.00 Kyiv time on December 13, 2014, closed the airports of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia for security reasons.

Vladyslav Selezniov, the acting head of the press service for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told Interfax-Ukraine that the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) was conducting "anti-terrorist measures" in the closed airports.

The SBU later said that the airports of Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk had been closed due to reports that civilian airplanes could be under threat due to the possible deployment of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles by rebels from the antiterrorist operation (ATO) zone. "This happened due to reports provided to the [State Aviation] Service by one of the divisions of the Defense Ministry that today there is a large risk for civilian planes in the ATO zone," SBU Spokesperson Olena Hitlianska said at a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.

The airports of Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk returned to full operations on December 16. Zaporizhia Airport was originally expected to open on December 20.

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