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Minister: Ukraine starts talks with US, EU regulators to restore air service

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 11, 2024 11:12 AM 2 min read
Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, U.K on June 22, 2023. (Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has officially started negotiations on the restoration of air travel with American and European safety regulators, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine published on March 11.

The sky over Ukraine has been closed since the start of the all-out war in 2022 due to Russia's consistent aerial attacks across the country.

Kyiv is waiting for the first round of official feedback from regulators and is currently in talks with three Ukrainian companies that have confirmed they "want to fly," according to Kubrakov.

“The Ukrainian side is already sharing its vision with regulators of how the market will operate under martial law, as well as its risk assessment,” Kubrakov told RBC.

He did not elaborate on specific terms or airports that could potentially resume operations, but said Ukraine has "several (different) options."

Low cost airline Ryanair last year announced its plans to return to the Ukrainian market "once the skies over Ukraine have reopened for commercial aviation." Kubrakov confirmed that the company is planning to return once the airspace is open.

The minister said that Ukraine is also in consultation with the civil aviation administration of Israel, a country that he said is "the most successful example" of how airports can operate amid the threat of missile or drone attacks.

In late February, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Presidential Office, said that Ukrainian authorities were working to restore operations at one of the country's airports once security issues were addressed, without specifying which one.

Kubrakov said in September 2022 that the first city to resume flights could be Lviv, a major regional center in Ukraine's west. Some of the past discussions mentioned Uzhhorod, a city lying at the border with Slovakia, as a potential candidate.

Ukraine to prioritize restoring air travel
Ukraine is working with its partners to restore air travel as quickly as possible, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Rostyslav Shurma said at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 18.

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