Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) boosted passenger numbers by around a fifth in June 2015 versus the same month last year as a rapid summer network growth has helped it grow traffic. The national carrier inaugurated flights on nine new domestic and international routes last month, including a significant expansion at its Kiev hub, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and at the Black Sea city of Odessa.
Latest passenger data from the airline shows it carried 403,849 passengers in June 2015, up 17 per cent on the same month last year, while average loads rose eight per cent to 85 per cent. During the calendar month it operated 2,998 flights: 2,216 international flights (including 84 long-haul flights), 374 domestic flights, and 408 charter flights. Its share of transit passengers versus point-to-point demand was 48 per cent, down 3 per cent on June 2014.
At Lviv’s Danylo Halytskyi International airport, UIA has taken advantage in a relaxation of bilateral restrictions to expand its activities and last month introduced a domestic link to Odessa and international flights to Bologna, Madrid and Rome, adding to a new service to Tel Aviv that was launched the previous month.
“Having been operating on Lviv market for many years, we are well aware of the region’s tourist potential and the necessity of its promotion with a view to generating extra demand,” said Yuri Miroshnikov, president, Ukraine International Airlines.
“The initiative of introducing the Open Skies won’t be efficient enough without addressing the demand issue. Today the carriers underuse the existing range of flight opportunities from Lviv,” he added.
Among the new routes on offer from Kiev last month is a three times weekly service to the low-cost David The Builder International in the Georgian city of Kutaisi which launched from June 27, 2015. Cultural and business ties between Ukraine and Georgia have always been very strong and the airline expects to continue the route into the winter schedule viewing the link as convenient option for travellers to the resorts of Adjara in summer and ski centres of Gudauri, Bakuriani and Borjomi in winter.
In addition UIA also added flights last month from Kiev’s Borispol International Airport to Queen Alia International Airport in the Jordanian capital Amman and a link to the popular Greek leisure destination of Thessaloniki. Meanwhile at Odessa International Airport new flights were introduced last month to Kharkiv and the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, adding to new summer 2015 services to Moscow and St Petersburg.
“We decided to launch the large-scale non-stop international flights programme from Odessa because this city is one of the UIA strategic destinations while Odessa International airport is UIA’s second largest hub yielding to Borispol airport only,” said Evgeniya Satska, corporate press secretary, Ukraine International Airlines.
As Ukraine’s leading carrier, UIA is playing an important role in developing air traffic from both the country’s capital Kiev and other cities across Ukraine. “We are constantly working on providing passengers from the cities of Ukraine with more travel opportunities. We are confident our regional flight program will help establish new and strengthen the existing business and cultural contacts to the cities of the former Soviet Union and beyond,” added Satska.