Following explosive news that Ukraine might soon get an airport reopened in Zakarpattia Oblast’s regional center Uzhhorod, Viktor Mykyta, Head of the Zakarpattia Oblast Council stepped in to rebuke the hopeful message: Ukraine is working on the idea, but is unlikely to get a working airport soon.
After a no-fly zone was established above Ukraine following Russia’s full-blown war on 24 February, all airports were closed to passenger traffic and traveling in and out of the country became a daunting logistical task, which is why news of the possibility of the airport in Uzhhorod reopening spread like wildfire. However, Mykyta says this is unlikely to happen in the nearest time:
- today the airport is not ready to receive or send civil flights to the territory of the European Union;
- the airport does not have the appropriate permits to start working;
- the sky over Ukraine is closed, as well as all airports;
- there are no signed documents from the EU on the possibility of launching regular flights to the territory of the European Union;
- the lighting system, the runway, and other infrastructure elements are not ready to receive regular flights, etc.
“Yes, we are working on bringing the airport up to the requirements and certification. The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Ukraerorukh, SBU, State Emergency Service, the best experts in the field of private passenger and cargo aviation for consulting and optimization of airport operations, and others are involved in the implementation of the set of measures. But we are talking about a long-term and systemic process.
Therefore, now statements about the resumption of airport operations are nothing more than desires and intentions,” he commented.
Eariler, TSN reported on 31 July that the Uzhhorod Airport whose runway extends to Slovakia, thus outside of no-flight zone above Ukraine, may start working soon. The Zakarpattia Oblast Council dedicated $704k at its July session to create “maybe most important Ukrainian airport.”
Chairman of the Zakarpattia Oblast Council, Volodymyr Chubirko, said that the former minus of the airport – the runway, which starts outside of the country – has become a plus.
“It is the only airport in Ukraine that can function for passenger transportation because the runway starts in Slovakia and ends in Slovakia.”
He explained that a plane that takes off immediately enters the sky of the European Union, and not the sky of Ukraine, which is closed today due to the war.
“That’s why I’m sure that in a month or two our Ukrainian airlines, those based today in Europe, will fly to Vienna, and, if necessary, to Prague, Munich,” the head of the oblast council is convinced.