YIV – Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport is aggressively seeking new flights and new airlines by offering discounts of up to 75 % in landing fees to major airlines and lucrative low-cost carriers.
Two weeks ago, this policy bore fruit when it unexpectedly landed Ryanair – Europe’s busiest low cost airliner. Air travelers assumed that Ryanair would go to Zhulyany, which was gaining a reputation at Kyiv’s ‘discount airport.’
“In the next 10 years our vision is to double the passengers on new international flights,” Boryspil’s Acting General Director, Evgeny Dykhne, said in an interview.
Boryspil’s behind the scenes search for new partners already paid off last year when it recorded third highest growth for a European airport its size.
Ukraine’s dominant airport has turned around since 2014, when it posted a loss of nearly $4.7 million. The airport reported a $31.7 million net profit in 2015 and saw passenger growth more than double last year. This came after losing all flights to Moscow, traditionally its busiest destination.
The 2016 growth rate of 18.8% ranked third in Europe for airports handling 5-10 million passengers, according to ACI Europe. Boryspil was after Berlin (Schoenefeld) and Larnaca, Cyprus.
The drop in fees applied to all airlines exceeding a threshold of 100,000 passengers in flights to Boryspil. The rates fall further with increments of 100,000 passengers.
“The essence is an unprecedented drop in fees – up to 75%”, said Dykhne. Airlines benefitting from this special rate include: Turkish Airlines, KLM/Air France, Lufthansa, and Ukraine International Airlines, which is based in Boryspil.
This offer helped persuade Ryanair to choose Boryspil over Zhulyany, which is officially named Kyiv International Airport.
Boryspil’s Acting General Director, Evgeny Dykhne (supplied)
We have a 100% stable financial status,” said Dykhne who has run Boryspil for two years. “We’ve had sufficient success in passenger growth. We’ve made an aggressive proposal to the [low cost] market to enhance Boryspil routes.”
“We sent this offer to more than 20 airlines in Europe,” he added.
Dykhne believes that low cost carriers will develop tourism, hotels and restaurants and regional infrastructure.
Dykhne hopes for a decision soon in proceeding with delayed rail connection to Kyiv’s Central Rail Station, with a stop at Darnystia Railway Station. This link originallly was proposed for the EURO 2012 soccer championships. Later, funding commitments from China's Import-Export bank were obtained, in 2012, but work never progressed.
“The epoch of gigantic money projects is a day of the past,” said the airport director. “Our potential can only be realized by collaborating with railway. Our aim is to reduce the connecting time for passengers at Boryspil Airport.”
This year, Boryspil plans to increase the passenger transit area in Terminal D by 1,400 square meters and to add more parking spots.
Dykhne said a new check-in and passport process cut waiting times by 20% and that new aviation security procedures accelerated the process by another 30%.
UIA code shares and growth strategies are enhancing Boryspil as a transit point.
“In all respects, we are a hub airport,” the director said. “Thirty percent of our passengers are transit passengers.”
Dykhne’s interview with the UBJ was in some respects a farewell interview.
Next month, he to be succeeded by Pavlo Ryabkin, a former deputy Transport Minister. Ryabkin previously served as a member of parliament for Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR party. Most recently, he worked for the Kyiv City State Administration for infrastructure and transport construction.
Ryabkin was selected after the 2015 scandal-plagued appointment of Yuriy Solonchuk was rejected by the Cabinet. Solonchuk had business ties to a son of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.
“Ukrainian public companies should be transparent and the state budget should receive high returns from Boryspil airport,” Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian said this month. “The results of 2016 showed Boryspil airport earning 1.5 billion UAH ($55.3 million). This is a very serious sum.”
Ryabkin also calls for more low-cost carriers. He told epravda.com.ua that he believes the airport could serve 15 million passengers by 2022, evenly divided between transit passengers and those with Kyiv as their destination. That would be almost double the 2016 level.
He vowed to reopen Terminal F by 2020 and Terminal B by 2022. He noted that Terminal B’s Soviet-era dome is protected as an architectural monument, adding an extra hurdle.
Dykhne says Boryspil has two clear advantages over Zhulyany – better facilities and UIA’s base.
“We possess more serious technical facilities than Zhulyany,” he said. “We are better equipped for navigation. Even with the severe winter of 2016, neither heavy snow nor rain stopped our airport for a single hour. In fact, we operated as a back-up for Zhulyany and others.”
From May 14 to 24, Boryspil will handle all of Zhulyany’s flights as Zhulyany concrete runway will undergo repairs.
For comments and story tips, contact UBJ Correspondent Lee Reaney at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Slider Photo: Terminal D at Boryspil opened five years ago and is now the main international and domestic terminal for the 26 airlines that fly to Kyiv's main airport (supplied)