Lufthansa, Austrian airlines joined KLM in suspending flights to Ukraine 

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By Favour Nnabugwu
On Saturday, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines both confirmed they would suspend flights into Ukraine owing to the security situation there.
The suspensions come as pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine mobilize with local residents being urged to flee.
Lufthansa & Austrian suspend Ukraine flights until end of the month
In updated travel advice published on its website, Lufthansa said it is “suspending flights to and from Kyiv. This affects all departures from Monday, February 21 until 28 February 28.” Lufthansa says it is constantly monitoring the situation and will decide on further flights at a later date.
Austrian Airlines, which is owned by the Lufthansa Group, is also canceling all flights to and from Kyiv and Odessa until the end of February.
The suspensions takes effect from Monday, with both airlines will operate some flights into Ukraine until then. Lufthansa says it will continue to fly to Lviv in western Ukraine.
Dutch carrier KLM suspended flight to Kyiv earlier this month. A few days later, Norwegian decided its planes would not overly the country. Both airlines cited the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine.
We made this decision based on a comprehensive safety assessment,” said Norwegian’s Esben Tuman. “Safety always comes first.”
Airlines careful flying over Ukraine
While airlines are used to dodging conflict zones, this one is close to home for most European carriers and the shooting down of MH017 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile remains fresh in the memory.
“KLM always puts the safety of passengers and employees first in the conduct of its operation. Choosing safe and optimal routes is a standard part of our daily practice,” the Amsterdam-based airline said in a statement. MH017 originated in Amsterdam and Dutch citizens made up the majority of the people killed in the incident. Since then, KLM and several other airlines have avoided overflying eastern Ukraine.
There are nearly two dozen operating airports in Ukraine. The largest is Kyiv Boryspil International Airport (KBP). According to airline database ch-aviation.com, 35 airlines use the airport. Those airlines fly to 133 destinations in 54 countries. Around a dozen airlines are based at the airport, including Ukraine International Airlines, Windrose Airlines, SkyUp Airlines, Supernova Airlines, and Azur Air Ukraine.
It can be recalled that earlier this month, insurers began getting skittish over the escalating tensions and warned Ukraine-based airlines their coverage did not include war risk. Last weekend, Ukraine’s SkyUp was forced to divert a flight from Portugal after that plane’s owner forbid it to enter Ukrainian airspace.
The next day, Ukraine International Airlines said it was sending five planes to Spain after the insurer of those planes suspended coverage while they remained in Ukrainian airspace.
Meanwhile, as the US warns a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent and has evacuated most staff members from its Kyiv embassy, other airlines still flying into Ukraine are closely watching events. Some airlines are scheduling additional flights into Kyiv to get people out.
On Friday, Air India confirmed it would operate three flights to Ukraine next week to evacuate its citizens. The airline said there was a “massive demand” for the flights.

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