Effective October 27, 2019, Ukraine International is to cease operating non-stop scheduled flights between Kyiv and Almaty. The UIA passengers may reach Kazakhstan due to a code-share agreement with Air Astana on Kyiv – Nur-Sultan and Kyiv – Almaty flights.
The decision to cease operations to Almaty is triggered by negative profitability caused by the prohibition of flying over the territory of the Russian Federation. For Ukraine’s carriers, the inability to use the Russian airspace resulted in substantial prolongation of Kyiv – Almaty flights – from 5 h 20 min to 6 h 35 min – and, therefore, extra costs that the airlines seem to be unable to cover even if transit effect is considered.
In December 2018, UIA ceased operations to Nur-Sultan (previously Astana) since accumulated losses in 2016 – 2018 reached as high as USD7.28 million.
“This was a forced and logical decision. It is directly related to the problems of implementing the hub model repeatedly raised earlier. Losses of more than $7 million do not allow us to continue operating this loss-making flight,” noted Yevhenii Dykhne, UIA CEO.
Between 2013 and 2019, UIA operated 2120 Kyiv – Almaty – Kyiv flights, carried 528510 passengers and 3600 tons of cargo and mail, as well as provided Kyiv Boryspil International Airport with 380 thousand transit passengers.
Schedule of code-share flights between Kyiv and Almaty empowers UIA to partly maintain transit travel opportunities across the carrier’s route network. The decision to close the Kyiv – Almaty flights disrupts the UIA network model. However, the company’s management regards it as a compulsory measure to re-enter the profit zone.