Ryanair has confirmed plans to begin flights from Ukraine in October 2018. The low-cost airline will fly from Kyiv to ten European destinations (Barcelona, Bratislava, Gdansk, Krakow, London Stansted, Poznan, Stockholm, Vilnius, Warsaw and Wroclaw) and from Lviv to five cities (Dusseldorf, Krakow, London Stansted, Memmingen and Warsaw).
Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan toasted the news as a major breakthrough for the country’s air travel industry. “Ryanair’s entry to Ukraine is the most important event for the national airspace in the past 20 years,” he commented. “Europe’s largest low-cost airline will begin its operations at Boryspil International Airport (Kyiv) and Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (Lviv). For Ukrainians, Ryanair’s arrival offers new opportunities to travel cheaply and safely. For the country, it means the development of the aviation industry. For business, it points to a free and competitive market, with rules of fair play. For visitors, you can fly to Ukraine at the lowest fares and discover its openness, beauty and business opportunities.”
The arrival of Ryanair in Ukraine follows the collapse of a similar agreement in 2017 despite an initial public announcement amid much fanfare. On that occasion, management at Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport balked at the terms demanded by the low-cost airline, derailing the deal and leading to acrimonious exchanges that saw Ryanair officials question Ukraine’s reliability as a partner.
Ryanair are entering the Ukrainian market at a time when the country’s air travel industry is experiencing record growth. Rising incomes and the advent of visa-free EU travel have both helped to fuel impressive increases in passenger volumes at airports across the country over the past year, with nationwide growth in 2017 averaging around 30%.
Ryanair flights will strengthen ties between Ukraine and the EU while also opening the country’s tourism industry up to far wider potential audiences. Kyiv and Lviv are both gaining increasing attention as attractive up-and-coming city break destinations but they currently suffer from a lack of low-cost air travel options.