Ukrainian airlines report slowdown in passenger traffic growth

Ukrainian experts have their explanations for the phenomenon International traffic has been growing more actively since the beginning of the year (Deleuran / Wikimedia)

Ukrainian airlines saw their passenger traffic grow 33.6% year-on-year in January-August 2017, reaching 7.06 million. The figure included 6.45 million international passengers (+35.1%), the country’s State Aviation Administration reports. This indicates a slowdown of the passenger traffic growth rate, although traffic grew by 36.7% in January through July and by 40% in January through June.

The January-August growth rates proved almost half as big as at the beginning of the year. To compare, in January 2017 traffic grew 57.7% year-on-year; in January and February, the figure was 51.9%.

According to Vladislav Ilyin, commercial director at Kharkiv airport operator New Systems AM, this growth rate slowdown is due to the low comparison basis from early 2016: “After the 2014 crisis, followed by the steep decline in passenger numbers in 2015, traffic only began to recover by summer 2016.

It was in summer 2016, at the peak of the season, that most airlines resumed operations and started opening new routes. This explains the explosive growth we see when comparing the beginning of 2017 with the beginning of 2016. However, if we are to compare the summer of 2017 with the same period of 2016, we will not see any dramatic difference.”

Ilyin also notes that in the summer of 2016, there were no charter flights between Russia and Turkey, which resulted in a dramatic increase in traffic between Ukraine and Turkish destinations as local hoteliers managed to lure Ukrainian tourists with hefty discounts: “However, this year Russia resumed charter operations to Turkey, which led to well booked Turkish hotels. Consequently, hotels revised their pricing policy for Ukrainians upwards. This is why the Ukrainian tourist traffic to Turkey remained almost the same this summer compared to the previous year.”

Overall passenger traffic through Ukrainian airports grew 30.6% in the first eight months of 2017, reaching 10.83 million passengers/ The international segment was growing faster at 32.3%, reaching 9.58 million passengers.

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