How Ukrainian Airways Proceed to Fly Regardless of the Conflict With Russia


  • Solely a handful of Ukrainian passenger airways are nonetheless flying regardless of the Russian invasion.
  • The planes aren’t flying in Ukraine however principally function underneath constitution or leasing contracts overseas.
  • Funds service SkyUp is now Ukraine’s largest airline because the nation’s flag service faces chapter.

Passenger flights had been successfully halted when Ukraine fell underneath martial regulation, as a lot of the nation turned an energetic warzone after Russia invaded in February 2022.

This left Ukrainian airways scrambling as they canceled flights and rapidly moved their planes into storage. Some plane bought caught in Ukraine, however dozens of others had been scattered round locations like Romania, France, Estonia, and Spain.

Many of those jets had been evacuated forward of time on the course of plane insurers who didn’t need their planes nonetheless in Ukraine given warnings of the potential invasion, the aviation media firm Key Aero reported.

Though many of those planes stay grounded or have been reclaimed by their lessor, there are nonetheless 18 Ukrainian-registered jets in service, in accordance with Cirium information collected on November 29 and shared with Enterprise Insider.

A handful of Ukrainian carriers characterize these plane, together with SkyUp Airways, Windrose Airways, and Skyline Categorical Airways — the latter beforehand often called Azur Air Ukraine however rebranded this 12 months.

An Azur Air Ukraine jet before it rebranded to Skyline Express Airlines.

Skyline’s earlier Azur title was affiliated with the Russian service Azur Air, and it needed to keep away from affiliation.


SkyUp has been probably the most vocal about its operations. In September 2022, the privately owned price range airline printed a round-up of its missions over the primary six months of the warfare, together with signing leasing and constitution contracts and working humanitarian flights.

“When the warfare began, it was completely essential for us to arrange these humanitarian flights, regardless of any doable dangers,” SkyUp CEO Dmytro Seroukhov advised Enterprise Insider in an interview on Friday. “We flew greater than 20 flights in March and April.”

The corporate has 10 planes in operation, together with one jet that bought left behind when the warfare broke out and needed to be rescued from Ukraine in April 2023. Seroukhov advised BI this was a major job that took about 1,000 folks to prepare.

Since February 2022, SkyUp has flown 1000’s of flights and carried hundreds of thousands of individuals on behalf of shut to twenty airways, Seroukhov stated. These embrace Air Albania, Air Moldova, Corendon Dutch Airways, Hungary’s Wizz Air, and Tunisia’s nationwide airline Tunisair, amongst others.

SkyUp female cabin crew wear sneakers and pants instead of heels and pencil skirts.

SkyUp is known for letting its feminine cabin crew put on sneakers and pants as a substitute of heels and pencil skirts.


Extra lately, the service obtained permission to function a few of its Boeing 737 planes within the US and Canada because it hopes to enter the profitable North American plane leasing market.

“We’re in negotiations with a number of doable companions,” Seroukhov advised BI.

SkyUp has additionally arrange a Malta subsidiary, often called SkyUp Malta, and has obtained its air operator certificates to formally change into an EU airline.

Seroukhov advised BI that the Malta-based arm may have three operations: leasing, charters, and scheduled flights. The corporate is already utilizing two of its 10 Boeing 737 planes for SkyUp Malta, with plans so as to add passenger flights in 2024.

“All of those three completely different events must be linked in the identical base the place the plane are positioned, permitting us to shift to excessive utilization per plane and better income for SkyUp,” he stated, noting the planes will fly to leisure locations.

Whereas SkyUp rapidly tailored its operation for wartime, constitution airways Windrose and Skyline have solely resumed flights as of 2023.

In response to the Ukrainian media outlet Avianews, Windrose has two Boeing 737s and one Embraer E190 in service. The E190 has been leased out to Air Montenegro, whereas the 2 737s are being operated by Windrose, the Cirium information despatched to BI reveals.

Passengers with masks on deplaning a Windrose ATR in 2019.

Planespotters information reveals the pictured Windrose ATR 72, registered UR-RWC, is at the moment parked at Dnipro Worldwide Airport in Ukraine.

Francois LOCHON

Concerning Skyline, solely two Boeing 757s in its fleet of 10 plane are in service, in accordance with Cirium.

Avianews reported these plane had been obtained in 2023 and are flying on behalf of tour operators. Skyline’s web site lists locations like Burgas, Bulgaria, and Heraklion, Greece.

One other small Ukrainian airline known as YanAir additionally has a Boeing 737 airplane flying, but it surely was leased out to Mali’s Sky Mail in Might 2021 — earlier than the warfare began. And constitution service Air Urga has operated 4 turboprop planes for the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service since 2019.

Ukraine’s flag service is just not on the record

Ukraine International Airlines

A Ukraine Worldwide Airways Boeing 777 over New York’s JFK airport in November 2018.

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto through Getty Pictures

The record of airways nonetheless flying doesn’t embrace Ukraine’s nationwide service, Ukraine Worldwide Airways, which was additionally the nation’s largest pre-war.

Regardless of flying on behalf of overseas airways like airBaltic in 2022, UIA has not flown for over a 12 months on account of non-payments for issues like upkeep and gasoline, Forbes Ukraine reported.

Shortly after ceasing flights final fall, some UIA plane had been de-registered and despatched to new properties, together with the three that Windrose is at the moment flying, in accordance with information from Planespotters.

And UIA is now going through a lawsuit from the Ukrainian state-owned financial institution, Ukreximbank, asking it to declare chapter, per Forbes, noting the airline has complete money owed of greater than $500 million.

“They not have property in civilized international locations to ensure cost,” a former UIA worker who labored within the firm’s prime administration advised Forbes in October. “UIA as such is an workplace, that is all.”

The airline’s property — together with its emblem and subsidiaries — have been bought, too, Avianews reported in October. With UIA’s collapse, SkyUp is now Ukraine’s greatest airline.

Ukraine is evaluating the resumption of civil flight operations

Ukrainian military people at Kyiv airport with tanks and aircraft.

Ukrainian army males at Kyiv airport in 2022.

Sergei Supinky/AFP through Getty Pictures

Though passenger flights are nonetheless at the moment suspended amid the continuing warfare with Russia, Ukraine has actively mentioned how and when to renew civilian operations.

In July, European low-cost large Ryanair introduced a $3 billion plan to return to Ukraine quickly after the warfare ends as a means to assist rebuild the battered nation. The information got here after conferences in Kyiv with Ukraine’s authorities and airport leaders.

“The quickest strategy to rebuild and restore the Ukrainian economic system will likely be with low-fare air journey,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary stated, noting the airline plans to base 30 new MAX planes in Ukraine’s three important airports in Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa.

Throughout a latest journey to the US, the top of the president’s workplace, Andrii Yermak, recommended Ukraine might open certainly one of its airports for civilian use earlier than the warfare ends, the BBC reported.

“Strengthening air protection would be the key to restoration,” he stated at a press convention on the Hudson Institute in Washington DC on November 13. “To revive Ukraine, a dependable umbrella is required.”

“Particularly, its strengthening will enable us to reopen certainly one of Ukraine’s airports,” Yermak continued. “We’re already engaged on it with our companions. This can be a signal {that a} turning level within the warfare is approaching. The following 12 months will likely be decisive on this regard.”

The Ukrainian Air Drive has expressed issues a couple of pre-mature resumption of civil flights, although. A spokesperson advised the Kyiv Publish in July that the thought poses “important dangers,” noting there are uncertainties surrounding insurance coverage for planes and passengers.

“At the moment, all Ukrainian airfields, which serve varied functions, are operational,” he stated. “Nonetheless, in a war-torn nation like ours, missiles and enemy drones can seem anyplace at any time.”


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