Ukraine’s young hybrid carrier SkyUp Airlines served 1.709 million passengers in 2019, its first full-year of operations, nearly quadrupling its previous results of 442,000 passengers. The dramatic improvement is the result of a five-fold increase in the number of flights operated from 2,376 in 2018 to 12,198 last year.
In 2019, the country’s fastest growing airline doubled the number of its Boeing 737NGs to 10, and now operates two Boeing 737-700s, two -900ERs and six -800s.
Last year the airline launched scheduled domestic services, as 71,147 passengers were carried on 607 flights within Ukraine at an average seat load factor of 63 per cent. The bulk of the airline’s total traffic – some 1.638 million passengers – travelled on the airline’s 11,591 international flights, where the seat load factor reached a more productive 89 per cent.
It is clear that the carrier is gradually tending towards adopting a hybrid-type business model, and its ratio of charter to scheduled flights is close to 50/50, but more than half of all its passenger traffic is served on scheduled flights.
In 2019, the airline expanded the number of its bases so that it now it operates not only from Kyiv’s Boryspil airport, but also from the airports of Kharkiv, Lviv, and Zaporizhzhia. Consequently it launched 40 new destinations, adding new countries in Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Austria, Albania), the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia), the Middle East (Egypt, Israel), and south Asia (Sri Lanka) to its route map.
The most popular charter destinations last year were Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada (Egypt) and Antalya (Turkey). The top-three scheduled destinations were Barcelona (Spain), Tbilisi and Batumi (Georgia).
The airline is targeting even more passengers this year, as its fleet plan for 2020 is to bring the number of its aircraft up to 14 by adding two new Boeing 737 MAX-8s and two used Boeing 737-900ERs.
Ukrainian start-up airline SkyUp Airlines, which launched operations in May, 2018, was founded by Yuri and Tatyana Alba who are also the owners of Join Up!, one of the country’s major tour operators.
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