UIA to get four Boeing 777s in 2018

UIA will put its Boeing 767s on new routes to Toronto, New Delhi, and Sanya The 361-seat airliners will be used on the carrier's existing long-haul routes (UIA)

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is expanding its widebody fleet. The carrier expects to take delivery of the first of four Boeing 777-200ERs it has on order early in February 2018, CEO Yuri Miroshnikov revealed at a news conference in Kyiv dedicated to the carrier’s 25th anniversary. The deliveries are to be completed by mid-June of the same year.

Each of the four aircraft, which are being purchased from the secondary market, will be configured with 361 passenger seats in three classes: 21 in business, 16 in premium economy, and 324 in economy.

UIA will become the country’s first carrier to offer Wi-Fi connection on-board. The service will be free for business-class passengers (up to 200MB of traffic). Economy and premium-economy passengers will be able to choose from three rate options: Lite (20MB for $7), Basic (50MB for $15), and Advanced (100MB for $23).

The in-flight entertainment system available to all passengers will offer a choice of 50 Ukrainian- and foreign-made (available in Ukrainian, Russian, English, Chinese, French, German, and Hindu), 30 TV series, and 30 music albums, as well as video games, city guides, and a 3D map with current flight information.

According to Miroshnikov, the choice of Boeing 777 was primarily dictated by the per-seat cost. Although the type has a greater MTOW than the Boeing 767s UIA currently operates on long-haul flights, meaning the ATM and airport handling fees will be higher, it seats nearly 100 more passengers. This is why the airline has no immediate plans to raise its long-haul air fares.

Asked by the Russian Aviation Insider to comment on the future of UIA’s Boeing 767s, Miroshnikov said that these “have played and will continue to play an important role”. The airliners’ lease contracts expire in two years. Until then, they will be used to test the airline’s new long-haul routes such as to Toronto, New Delhi, and the Chinese resort of Sanya, possibly after a certain amount of business-class renovation and IFE upgrades.

The Boeing 777s will be operated on the existing routes, including to New York. The only exception might be Shanghai if UIA decides to inaugurate this destination. Flying from Kyiv, the route would require a Boeing 777 because the 767 can only fly that far with a limited useful load on board.

Also next year, UIA intends to add six Boeing 737s to its fleet and possibly two Embraer E-Jet regional jetliner. Three or four of the 737s will be factory-new; the rest of the aircraft will be renovated prior to delivery.

The carrier expects to take delivery of a new 737 from the manufacturer before the end of 2017.

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