Ukrainian low-cost carrier SkyUp Airlines announced on Dec. 17 that it would launch six new regular flights from three Ukrainian regional capitals to destinations in Austria, Greece and Spain.
The flights will be launched in 2022.
The western city of Lviv will benefit the most, receiving four twice-weekly SkyUp flights to Vienna, Madrid, Valencia and Thessaloniki. These will begin operating between March and May 2022. Three of the routes are already serviced by competitors, while the Thessaloniki connection is new.
Meanwhile, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv will get a new weekly flight apiece to a Greek island destination: the former to Rhodes and the latter to Corfu.
SkyUp, which was founded in 2016 by tourism entrepreneurs Yurii and Tetiana Alba, says it plans to operate over 100 flight routes to more than 30 countries during 2022’s summer season.
SkyUp’s expansion follows Hungarian low-cost carrier WizzAir’s October announcement of 26 new routes from four Ukrainian cities, as well as the September comments of Michael O’Leary, CEO of Irish giant Ryanair, who said that his airline was seeking to expand “aggressively” in Ukraine.
The boom in cheap flights has been caused largely by Ukraine's signing of the Open Skies Treaty with the European Union in October, ending the country’s previous protectionist airline policies.
Under the agreement, European airlines will be allowed to operate unlimited international and domestic flights in Ukraine, while Ukrainian carriers will be allowed to fly without restriction to European destinations providing their flights start or end in Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in October that the treaty will mean “high standards of flight safety, new opportunities for citizens and businesses, more flights and wider geography of travel” for Ukrainians.
However, Ukraine International Airlines CEO Yevheniy Dykhne, whose flag-carrier line is set to be the biggest loser from the change, said at the time that the agreement “will add even more injustice to Ukrainian companies,” as it bestowed unequal privileges on Ukrainian and EU carriers.