Ukrainian airlines will not see the “open skies” of the U.S.

Ukrainian airlines will not see the “open skies” of the U.S.
Photo: Konstantin Melnitsky

The U.S. Department of Transportation is protracting the signing of an open skies agreement with Ukraine, a high ranking source in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine told Capital. “The department views the signing of an agreement on a unified air space with the European Union with a skewed eye,” the source in the Cabinet explains as the reason for the delay.
The State Aviation Service of Ukraine does not officially confirm, nor does it deny this information. “The American side is attentively following the course of events regarding the agreement on a unified air space and earlier pointed to the positive effect of the agreement on the future negotiations process of concluding an agreement on open skies with the U.S.” the SAS responded in writing to an inquiry of Capital.

Ukraine presented its version of the open skies agreement to the U.S. last October. It has yet to receive a response. As a reminder, it was planned that the agreement would be signed by the end of 2013. “All technical aspects have been agreed with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and now talks are being held regarding the terms (of initialing the agreement – Capital)… It is totally realistic that this may happen this year,” then Vice Premier Oleksandr Vilkul assured at the end of October 2013.

All about nothing

At the moment, the mutual relations in the aviation industry between Ukraine and the U.S. are regulated by the Agreement on Air Communication between the governments of the two countries of June 5, 2000. Pursuant to the document, no more than 4 airlines can fulfill 18 direct weekly flights between Ukraine and the U.S. Moreover, neither of the two sides took advantage of such opportunities in full. The only airline that performs direct flights between the two countries is Ukraine International Airlines. Since April 2014, UIA is performing 7 weekly flights on the Kyiv-New York route. This means that at least 11 weekly flights have not been performed.

Only three airlines in Ukraine have long-distance planes that can perform direct, non-stop flights between Ukraine and the U.S. – UIA, Windrose and Kharkiv Airlines. General Director of Windrose Volodymyr Kamenchuk responded to the question as to whether his carrier will fly to the U.S. in the event the open skies agreement is signed, “Everything is possible”. The Kharkiv Airlines also gave a vague response. “the airline has no concrete plans to open flights to the U.S., though there is certain interest in opening flights to vacation resorts in the U.S. in the long-term future,” the press service of the airline responded in writing to the inquiry of Capital. UIA was late in providing commentary before the printing of the issue of Capital.

Not much, not too little

Flying on regular routes to the U.S. is only beneficial for UIA, Commercial Director of the UTair-Ukraine airline Volodymyr Katerniy believes. The Windrose and Kharkiv Airlines models are geared towards charter flights, not regular flights. Without having a transit flow, there is no sense in opening regular flights on long-distance destinations to the U.S., he explains to Capital.

Ukrainian airlines stand to gain a true benefit from signing of the aforementioned agreement if they were allowed to perform cabotage flights (transport by aircraft of the companies of one country within the boundaries of another country – Capital).
“In this country, the competition in domestic transportation is fierce, particularly on regular flights. At the same time, in the domestic charter transport segment Ukrainian companies have a chance to reconcile their forces with American companies. Our airline will try to operate on their markets. Talks on this subject are currently under way,” Executive Director of Aerojet Anatoliy Mazurenko noted. However, Chairman of the State Aviation Service Denys Antoniuk says cabotage is so far not envisaged in the agreement being discussed.

Comments (0)
In order to post comments, you must login.