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Ukraine begins talks with aviation regulators to resume international flights during martial law

Ukraine initiates talks with European and American regulators, aiming to safely reopen its skies for international travel despite ongoing Russia’s invasion.
ukraine international airlines
Ukraine International Airlines plane. Credit: open sources
Ukraine begins talks with aviation regulators to resume international flights during martial law

Ukraine has initiated official negotiations with European and American aviation regulators regarding the possibility of resuming international flights during the ongoing martial law, Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Development of Communities, said in a recent interview with RBC Ukraine.

Ukraine closed the airspace to civil aircraft on 24 February 2022, when Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. According to the report by the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation in April 2023, returning to the usual aircraft routes over Ukraine will likely be impossible until 2029. There may not be a complete ban on flights over Ukraine within these six years, but rather a restriction of routes, likely resulting in a significant reduction of flights, Eurocontrol clarified.

“The synchronization of two pivotal regulators – the European and American – is essential for the skies to open once again. We are in the process of presenting our comprehensive plan, detailing how we envision the aviation market to function under the current state of martial law, alongside a thorough risk assessment and proposed operational algorithms,” Kubrakov said.

Kubrakov highlighted Israel’s successful management of its airspace amidst threats, signaling a potential model for Ukraine. “Israel stands as a testament to resilience, operating its airports efficiently even under the constant threat of aerial assaults. We are closely consulting with the Israeli Civil Aviation Administration to adapt their best practices to our unique circumstances,” he remarked.

While specifics on which airports might resume operations remain undisclosed, Kubrakov emphasized the importance of regulatory feedback in shaping the final strategy. “We are exploring various scenarios and eagerly await the regulators’ initial response to chart our course forward,” he explained.

Ryanair, the second-largest airline in the Ukrainian market before the Russian invasion, previously stated that the company is ready to resume operations in Ukraine once it becomes safe to fly there. Additionally, negotiations are underway with three Ukrainian airlines, Kubrakov added, saying that “they are unequivocally committed to resuming operations. These are their home bases, their homeland.”

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