Ukraine International Airlines pauses flights until March 23

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Airspace closures and fierce battles on the ground in Ukraine have seen Ukraine International Airlines extend their flight suspensions until March 23

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has confirmed it will extend the suspension of scheduled and charter services until 23:59 March 23, 2022, Kyiv time. The Kyiv-based airline had temporarily begun pausing flights last week after the Ukrainian Government closed the country’s airspace to civilian aircraft.

Closed airspace grounds UIA’s flights
In a statement published on February 27, UIA confirmed the ongoing suspension of flights was due to the extension of the closure of Ukrainian airspace. “This decision is according to the official NOTAM of the State Aviation Service,” the airline said. “The airline draws attention to the possibility of forced delays and difficulties in feedback on service channels of communication with passengers and counts on understanding.”

UIA adds reimbursement for canceled flights will not occur until after March 26. They attribute this to “the technical nuances of the martial law in Ukraine” and ask for understanding from out-of-pocket passengers.

Ukraine International Airlines had stopped flying on February 24 following the Russian invasion that targeted airport infrastructure. The invasion prompted the Ukrainian Government to declare martial law and close the airspace.

Before the formal closure of the airspace, aircraft insurers and reinsurers had also expressed concern about Ukrainian carriers operating their aircraft in Ukrainian airspace, effectively grounding many flight

Ukrainian carriers temporarily shut down
The unfolding situation in Ukraine is causing chaos for airlines that fly into the country or use its airspace. Airlines are also moving to avoid neighboring Russian airspace, and the EU is set to ban Russian airlines from their airspace. While most of Europe’s airlines have a degree of wriggle room and the ability to re-route flights, Ukrainian carriers are not so lucky.

The biggest airport in Ukraine is Kyiv’s Boryspil International (KBP). According to ch-aviation.com, 12 airlines are based there, including five scheduled carriers, three passenger charters, two cargo, and two government-operated airlines. In addition to UIA, Windrose Airlines, SkyUp Airlines, Bravo Airways, and Azur Air Ukraine are the scheduled passenger airlines based at KBP.

“Due to the imposition of martial law in the country, Windrose Airlines will suspend flights indefinitely, but we will be in touch. All relevant information will be posted on the official website and social networks,” Windrose advises.

“We inform you that sales on all flights are closed until March 9, 2022,” says SkyUp. “Almost the entire SkyUp fleet is located abroad: three aircraft are in Egypt, one is in Moldova, one more is in Kyiv, three are in Romania, four are in Estonia, and one more each is in Serbia and Bulgaria.”

Meanwhile, Boryspil Airport is closed. In addition to local airlines, multiple international airlines, including Qatar Airways, Ryanair, flydubai, KLM, Turkish Airlines, and Air France are temporarily out of Ukraine. Late last week, explosions were occurring around the airport.

CNN was reporting on the weekend the airport remained largely undamaged, but vehicles have blocked the airport’s two runways and taxiways to prevent Russian aircraft from flying in. Seizing control of Ukraine’s airports, including Boryspil, is key to Russia’s takeover strategy.

Meanwhile, there are mixed reports about the fate of the AN-225 Mriya based at contested Gostomel Airport outside Kyiv. On Saturday, Antonov Airlines said the plane was intact. However, the well-regarded site, AirlineRatings.com, is reporting satellite evidence indicating the plane is destroyed. The site also adds the Ukrainian Government has confirmed the plane’s demise online.

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