After an eight-year absence, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has resumed operations to Ukraine by connecting Kyiv with the Norwegian capital Oslo. The airline operated its return with a thrice-a-week service from Oslo to Boryspil, the country’s largest capital airport, on October 26. In the past SAS served the route between the capitals of Denmark and Ukraine. However, in March 2011, the lack of profitability forced the Copenhagen-Kyiv operations to cease.
For a brief period, from 2012 to 2014, low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian also served this route.
The news comes as some of the largest traditional carriers have been either switching to reduced seasonal flight rotations, or ceasing their Ukraine services altogether. For example, Brussels Airlines and British Airways stopped flying to the Ukraine from this autumn, while Air France is to put on hold flights between Kyiv and Paris for the winter season. Ukraine’s own flag carrier, Ukraine International Airlines has been forced to cut a number of services and re-model its route network.
As traditional airlines downgrade their activities in Ukraine, budget airlines are continuing to increase their presence in the country. Earlier this month Transavia, the low-cost subsidiary of Air France-KLM airline group, revealed that the LCC is studying the possibility of launching flights to Ukraine. Budget airline Wizz Air, the largest LCC in the country according to the first seven months of 2019 passenger traffic results, will add a fifth destination in Ukraine by launching flights from the town of Zaporizhia starting from the IATA summer season of 2020.
Ryanair, another LCC currently actively expanding in Ukraine, earlier this month revealed 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. The airline also plans to more than double its flights and destinations from Ukraine from this year’s winter schedule.
Among eastern European countries, SAS has a relatively strong presence in Poland, flying to Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and Warsaw. The airline also operates to Vilnius in Lithuania and Riga in Latvia. St Petersburg is the only SAS destination in Russia, with the Scandinavian carrier connecting Pulkovo, Russia’s fourth busiest airport, with Oslo.
by Ivan Volodin
Russian Aviation Insider
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