Ukraine sees less transit air traffic due to political problems

The number of international flights in Ukrainian airspace declined as transit traffic thinned The number of international flights in Ukrainian airspace declined as transit traffic thinned (Photo by UkSATSE)

Ukraine served less transit flights in 2016 due to political tensions with neighboring Russia, reports Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE). This ATM provider handled 214,262 flights in 2016, down 8.8% than in the previous year. The downward trend is explained by decline in the number of international flights in Ukrainian airspace, by 10.9%, to 132,377. By contrast, the number of flights operated by Ukrainian airlines grew 17.6% to 81,885.

A 26.6% decrease in the number of transit flights (to 86,290 flights) is accountable for the slide in UkSATSE international statistics. This is explained by “airspace restrictions over the anti-terrorist operation zone and over temporarily occupied Crimea, as well as mutual sanctions between Russia and Ukraine,” the enterprise said in a statement. It is also safe to assume that after a Malaysian Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014 many airlines revised their routes to avoid flying in the country’s airspace.

The total number of flights from Ukraine abroad operated by local and international carriers increased 9.5% (to 104,565 flights). The number of domestic flights grew 7% to 23,407.

The list of the most active users of the Ukrainian airspace includes the country’s national carrier Ukraine International Airlines (49,138 flights, up 19.8% year-on-year), followed by  Turkish Airlines (22,920 flights, up 2.1%), Belarus’ Belavia (12,799 flights, up 21.6%), LOT Polish Airlines (9,907 flights, up 40.7%) and Hungary’s Wizz Air (5,626 flights, up 37.1%). The growth of Belavia may be explained by the rise of transit traffic between Ukraine and Russia via Minsk.

UkSATSE statistics shows that the local airports demonstrated positive trend in 2016, for the first time in the last three years. They served a total of 145,764 aircraft movements, up 9.3% from 2015. Kyiv’s two airports, Boryspil (with 75,280 take-offs and landings, up 7.4%) and Zhulyany (20,727 take-offs and landings, up 4.6%) were responsible for the largest share of traffic. Kharkiv showed the highest growth rate (61.1% to 6,628 movements), whereas Dnepropetrovsk decreased operations (down 17% to 7,351 movements).

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