The annexation of Crimea led to redrawing of the map of international flights

The annexation of Crimea led to redrawing of the map of international flights
The future of Russia air companies flying to Crimea is rather foggy
Photo: Reuters

Crimeans are enjoying flights to Russia. In November, there will be 457 flights from the airport in Simferopol to Russia, which is four times more than in the same month last year, statistics of the aviation website show. Earlier, this destination was in 12th place in terms of popularity ratings. The former Ukrainian leader in terms of the number of flights - Kyiv-Moscow destination – is now in the second place.

The only way out

Last year, the geography of the international flights from the airport in Simferopol was much broader, says aviation expert Serhiy Khyzhnyak explaining the change in the leader in ratings of popular destinations. According to data of, in November 2013 planes flew from Crimea to Kyiv, Moscow, Istanbul, Tashkent, Baku and Tel-Aviv. Today, they are mostly flying to Moscow. The State Aviation Service of Ukraine banned flights to the airport in Simferopol. Capital wrote earlier that Russian airlines are ignoring the ban, though they fear executing flights to other countries with the exception of Russia due to possible international sanctions. “In order to fly to other countries, Crimeans now must fly through Moscow, the main hub of Russia,” says Khyzhnyak. He added that Russian officials and businessmen are more frequently flying to Crimea.

Executive Director of Aerojet airline Anatoliy Mazurenko adds that the proportional increase in prices of tickets of approximately 60% is an additional reason for the decline in the popularity of the Kyiv-Moscow destination.

Popularity flying high

Despite the aggravation of relations with Russia, the latter is strengthening its position on the Ukrainian airline market. While last year among the leading destinations from Ukraine three Russian destinations were supplemented by Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, this year only the Kyiv-Istanbul destination remains intact. Kyzhnyak explains the popularity of the Moscow destinations by the fact that Ukrainians continue to use Moscow as a transit hub in flights to China and other Asian countries, as well as to other Russian cities.

As a reminder, this year Ukraine International Airlines refused to fly from Kyiv to the Russian cities of Novosibirsk and Yekaternburg. “It is impossible or inconvenient to get to other cities in Russia other than flying through Moscow,” says Khyzhnyak.

The influence of the political factor is gradually leveling off. Mazurenko says that at the end of winter and start of spring, during the peak of the political crisis between Ukraine and Russia, the flow of passengers sharply fell. Today, airlines are increasing the number of flights according to necessity, Mazurenko added. For example, in October Aeroflot resumed flights on the Odesa-Moscow destination. Economic factors come to the fore. The increase in the prices of tickets due to the devaluation of the hryvnia forces Ukrainians to refuse from flying to other countries, says Mazurenko.

Member of the Oversight Committee of the Ukrainian Logistics Association Artur Vynyukov-Proshchenko gives the Kyiv-Dubai destination as an example, which fell from the Top 5 destinations. Dubai has already exhausted itself as the shopping capital of the world and the United Arab Emirates is losing Ukrainian tourists due to the exorbitant costs of a vacation.

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