As traditional airlines downgrade their activities in Ukraine, low-cost carriers (LCCs) are continuing to increase their presence in the country with Europe’s weakest economy.
Transavia, the low-cost subsidiary of Air France-KLM group, is studying the possibility of launching flights to Ukraine, Frank van ‘t Hof, the group’s commercial director for Russia and CIS announced at a press conference in Kyiv, reports local news wire UNIAN.
“I can see this possibility in Ukraine, but it is a well thought out business plan. We are not interesting in just trying [experimenting]. We want to launch something that will be profitable,” he said.
The news comes as some of the largest traditional carriers are either switching to seasonal flight rotations, or ceasing services altogether. For example, Brussels Airlines and British Airways are ceasing operations to the Ukraine from this autumn, while Air France is planning to stop operating flights between Kyiv and Paris for the winter season. “Our goal is to optimise Air France’s network in accordance with the demand behaviour for the flights from Ukraine,” the airline has admitted.
Transavia was established in 1965, with its first flight operated from the Netherlands in 1966. Currently the airline has three base airports in the Netherlands at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam’s The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport. The carrier’s French division, Transavia France, was created in 2007 to serve medium-haul flights from Paris-Orly to leisure destinations. Transavia France also has bases at Lyon and Nantes Airport.
Although it is unclear whether Transavia is planning to serve flights to France or Netherlands from Ukraine, the airline has already confirmed its flight programme to another post-Soviet country. Starting from the IATA 2020 summer season Transavia France will operate flights between Paris and Riga, Latvia.
While Transavia is only studying the possibility of opening flights to Ukraine, its rival Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC), has announced plans to transport more than 1.5 million passengers on its Ukrainian routes in the fiscal year April 1, 2019 through to March 31, 2020, its first full fiscal year of operations in the country.
In this current winter schedule Ryanair will more than double the number of its flights and destinations to/from Ukraine year-on-year, with the airline serving 41 destinations from Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv and Kharkiv and the total number of its flights will be increased from 52 to 115 per week.
Wizz Air, which is currently eastern Europe’s fastest growing airline, has also announced dozens of additional services from Ukrainian cities for this winter season. The Hungarian budget airline has declared six new services from Odessa International Airport to Budapest, Berlin Schoenefeld in Germany, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Katowice in Poland and Bratislava in Slovakia, as well as a new route from Lviv to Larnaca in Cyprus. These operations will start in November. Along with these new services, Wizz Air has also recently (August 2) launched its first flight on the Kharkiv-Krakow route. With the new services from Odessa and Lviv, Wizz Air now offers a total of 53 routes to 13 countries from Ukraine.
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