Kharkiv International Airport welcomed guests on 12 March for the inaugural Ernest Airlines flight to Rome. The event was marked by a high-level discussion on the development of the airport’s international and domestic networks of flight destinations. In attendance were Kharkiv Region Deputy Governor Mark Becker, Ernest Airlines president Shadi El Tannir, Italian Consul Joel Melchiori, Kharkiv Karazin University Rector Vil Bakirov, and Volodymyr Vasilchenko, general director of Kharkiv International Airport New Systems AM, the operating company that manages the airport.
Vasilchenko introduced meeting participants to the airport’s development plans for 2019, which include an increase in passenger volumes to 1.2 million people annually, or a 25% improvement on the figure achieved in 2018. This would mark a continuation of the recent growth trend, which saw Kharkiv International Airport reach the one million passenger landmark for the first time last year.
The president of Ernest Airlines commented on the launch of the new service to Italy: "The Kharkiv-Rome and Kharkiv-Milan flights are the longest routes in our network. In order to develop this direction, we are making an investment of more than 10 million euros."
Participants also discussed the development of domestic Ukrainian routes and issued an address to Kharkiv Regional State Administration Yulia Svitlichna inviting her "to initiate before the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the State Aviation Service of Ukraine the development of an appropriate procedure for applying the provisions of Article 96 of the Air Code of Ukraine on ensuring the opening and maintenance of the Kharkiv-Lviv route."
Kharkiv International Airport serves as the principle air gateway to eastern Ukraine. It was completely reconstructed by Oleksandr Yaroslavsky’s DCH Group as part of preparations for UEFA’s Euro 2012 football championships, with Kharkiv serving as one of four Ukrainian host cities. Yaroslavsky’s investment in the airport upgrade was over USD 107 million.
Airlines currently flying from Kharkiv include Wizz Air, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, LOT, UIA, SkyUp and many others. In 2018, Kharkiv International Airport launched six new regular flights to London, Vienna, Dortmund, Katowice, Gdansk and Wroclaw, as well as seasonal flights to Tbilisi, Batumi, Milan, Barcelona, Rimini and Burgas. The total number of international flights in 2018 was 3,139, with this figure set to increase during the present year.