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Ukrainian Airlines

SkyUp: Is It Safe to Reopen Airports in Ukraine During the War

The Ukrainian company SkyUp Airlines has assessed whether it is safe to reopen airports in Ukraine during the war, especially considering Russia’s advantage in the sky.

Many Ukrainians dream of Ukraine resuming flights, as long-haul routes from Europe back home are already challenging for young people, not to mention older adults or Ukrainians with young children who were forced to leave the country during the full-scale conflict.

However, is it feasible to organize airport operations during a war, considering the safety aspect in the sky, especially when Russia still holds an advantage there? Alexander Shafiev, Director of Safety and Quality at SkyUp Airlines, candidly told UNIAN that he doesn’t see how it would be possible.

He reminded that safety is the golden rule in aviation, and Ukraine currently lacks solid guarantees in this regard. Civilian flights won’t resume until the country obtains such assurances. During the war, no one can guarantee that a civilian aircraft won’t be hit by an enemy missile or drone. “During alerts, even ground transportation stops to reduce risks. And here we’re talking about airplanes,” Shafiev pointed out.

He believes several steps need to be taken to restore air connectivity in Ukraine: prepare airport infrastructure for operation, check if the equipment is still functional after a prolonged standstill, and create an air “corridor” for safety in the sky. Ukrainian air traffic controllers must collaborate with Western partners to assist in managing such flights, says the Director of Safety at SkyUp Airlines.

Furthermore, Ukrainian airlines need guarantees from aircraft owners to allow their use in Ukraine under military conditions. They also need permission from insurance companies.

“In my personal opinion, all of this cannot be implemented shortly. Certainly, we want airports in Ukraine to operate, and we are monitoring this issue. Moreover, we want to be the first to return to Ukrainian skies. But it would be a lie to say that this is possible tomorrow,” he said.

Shafiev noted that if comparing the Israeli situation with Ukraine, the resources of Hamas are simply incomparable to the capabilities of Russia. It’s essential to understand this, as it’s not fair to compare risks, emphasized the top manager of SkyUp Airlines.

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