More than 15 million people flew via Ukrainian airports in the first nine months of 2018 as the country’s air travel industry continued to expand at an unprecedented rate. Ukrainian airports handled 15.6 million passengers in the January-September 2018 period, representing a year-on-year increase of 23.9%.
Kyiv City Airport was the standout performer with passenger growth of 57%. Meanwhile, smaller regional airports also impressed. Chernivtsi saw a 55.3% rise in passenger numbers and Kherson posted 51.1% growth.
The busiest Ukrainian regional hub in terms of passenger volumes was Lviv, which witnessed a 46.6% increase in travelers and a 28% rise in the number of flight services. Lviv International Airport’s growth trend maintained its frenetic pace in October 2018, with a 43.4% year-on-year jump in monthly passenger numbers to 1.355 million.
These figures suggest real economic growth rates significantly in excess of the official 3% GDP expansion forecast for Ukraine in 2018. While the country’s shadow economy is shrinking, it remains hard to quantify. Meanwhile, informal indicators such as air travel and consumer spending indicate the Ukrainian economy is growing more rapidly than reflected in official statistics.