Ukraine

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8:36 AM Friday, December 15, 2017
Transport
Visas Go, Air Fare War Erupts
UIA Competes With Discount Airlines, Slashes Fares on Domestic and European Flights
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk
By Konstiantyn Tsentsura

KYIV – With Wizz Air expanding, Ryanair arriving, and visa barriers dropping, Ukrainian International Airlines, the nation’s largest airline, is fighting back.

It is discounting fares as low as $21 for domestic and European destinations for travelers who purchase tickets months in advance.

The price cuts were announced two days before President Petro Poroshenko signed the accord allowing Ukrainians visa-free travel to the 26 European nations of the Schengen area.

President Poroshenko signs the visa free agreement on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, as Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament looks on. (UNIAN/Nikolay Lazarenko)

The discounts, outlined on UIA’s website, vary according to destination and to how long in advance flights are booked -- six, eight or 10 months.

The promotion divides discounts for international destinations into six zones. Zone one applies to short-haul flights (Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Georgia and Moldova). Here with one-way fares range from $21 to $49, taxes included.

Zones two to six cover most other European destinations, plus Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Prices ranging from $29 to $109.

Passengers can buy return tickets at twice the discounted price.

By Nov. 1, Wizz Air and Ryanair will be flying from Lviv and Kyiv to a total of 31 different European airports. Without competition beyond Europe, UIA is not discounting to destinations outside of Europe.

For example, fares are unchanged from UIA’s Kyiv Boryspil hub to New York, Bangkok or Beijing.

“No visa” billboards appeared on the streets of downtown Kyiv this week as the government touted the long awaited opening of visa-free travel to most of Europe. (James Brooke)

Domestic Flights: 9 Cities

Travellers on domestic routes to the nine Ukrainian cities served by UIA are offered fares ranging fro $9 to $29.

“The low cost prices launching is a logical extension of the SMART tariff system, introduced in the UIA in September 2015,” the company’s press secretary, Evgenia Satska, said on the UIA website.

“Our task is to make UIA flights more accessible for Ukrainian travelers,” she continued. “By the end of this year, more than 500,000 passengers will be able to buy tickets at low prices, and this policy will continue to operate in the future. The main rule is to plan your flights beforehand and to buy tickets directly on the airline's website.”.

UIA also has announced a program to expand its fleet of aircraft. Already in 2017, it has acquired three Boeing 737-800NG jets and intends to buy two other passenger jets by the end of the year.

UIA’s fleet now consists of 41 jets.


For comments and news tips, please email UBJ Dnipro Correspondent Konstiantyn Tsentsura at konstantin.tsentura@theubj.com

Slider Photo: UIA jet and flight crew (supplied)

Posted May 19, 2017

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