Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has announced that they are considering to allow a “small number of flights” to war torn Ukraine “by the end of this year.”
Subject to successful negotiations by Ukraine on the partial opening of airspace, Ireland’s Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline could then start their flights.
O’Leary said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine, “So, there are two plans, one, the war finishes and everything reopens in one day or two.
“And then there is the more likely [scenario], under which we can put some small number of flights in here at the end of this year.”
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He cited the experience of Israel, where aviation continues to work, O’Leary said, “Aircraft can land on a daily basis in Tel Aviv, which is only 10 minutes away from the West Bank, where they are launching rockets.
“It has been determined that it is safe to fly and that they can protect the aircraft, so I see no reason why we can’t return flights [in Ukraine],” O’Leary said.
The Ministry of Restoration are currently working to resume some flights to Ukraine by the end of 2023, O’Leary said.
He added, “I think we should be optimistic. Certainly, the ministry is working on trying to reopen some flights to Kyiv and Lviv in the end of this year.
“And if they can prove that it’s safe to do so then we will operate those flights.”
Ryanair has also announced that they will offer 1 million tickets for less than €20 once the flights resume.
O’Leary told Interfax-Ukraine, “The minister (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov) asked us today and we gave him a commitment that of the 5 million seats will offer in year one 20% or 1 million of those seats will be sold for less than €20.”
The Ryanair chief executive added, “We will need to have a low cost base at the airports. But that’s a decision for the ministry.
“The minister (Kubrakov) asked about providing low airport costs. He asked if we will commit to low fares and we said yes.
“Some 20% of the seats will be sold at fares of EUR 10-14-19, million seats, and most of those we sold at €24-29-34 and €39.
“The only way we can fill this number of seats will be with very low airfares.”
But, O’Leary stressed if Ukraine fails to convince the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and insurance companies it is safe to operate a few number of flights to Kyiv and Lviv, then Ryanair will not be able to resume flights.