Since 15 June, Ukrainian government has allowed to start resuming domestic and international flights. What will be the new rules for Ukrainian aviation is still being agreed upon by the regulator and the competent authorities. In the meantime, we share our plans and what we’re working on now.
When and where
Ukrainian air carriers do not yet have accurate data regarding flight programmes and schedules. We can only talk about our steps and approaches.
The pandemic hit the airline sector almost the hardest. To restore passenger traffic, it takes time and concerted action from all countries. This means that after the opening of the sky, we’ll start with lower volumes and frequencies than we planned before the coronavirus outbreak.
Before the quarantine routes that we developed and planned to launch, remain relevant. With some adjustments, but we’ll restore them. We’ll also continue to expand the network of flight routes. However, this restoration and expansion now largely depends on how quickly other, primarily European, countries will be ready to restore air travel to Ukraine.
An important criterion in this matter is the controllability of the situation with the spread of coronavirus disease. Borders are opening primarily between those countries where, thanks to the implemented security measures, a commensurate epidemiological situation has already been achieved.
Where can we travel and under what conditions remain very difficult to clearly predict.
The development of domestic transportation remains important to us. Before the crisis caused by the pandemic, we regulated the cost of interregional flights so that every Ukrainian could get to Lviv, Kharkiv or Kyiv for 500-700 hryvnia. We could afford such a price level for domestic flights, compensating for their unprofitability by international flights. Today, due to the inability to fully restore international passenger traffic, this balance is upset.
Therefore, we need the state assistance. The future of domestic air transportation is now completely dependent on the actions of the authorities. Today, this segment as never before requires the abolition of VAT so that we can maintain affordable ticket prices and expand our domestic route network.
How air transportation safety will be ensured
With the advent of the pandemic, the concept of air travel safety has acquired new meanings. How and under what conditions it will be possible to fly is decided by the competent authorities of countries and international organisations on aviation security.
Currently, we’re awaiting official recommendations and new rules, which are jointly agreed by the State Aviation Service, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Health. In the meantime, we take into account the novelties approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Passengers should take into account that, most likely, according to the new rules, it will take more time to complete all procedures at the airport, boarding and disembarking from an aircraft.
Compliance with all approved innovations is mandatory. Passengers who violate established rules of conduct may not be allowed into the airport and on board the aircraft. Elevated body temperature found in the passenger during the temperature screening, or the presence of disease symptoms will be an unconditional reason for refusing to travel.
Measures currently under consideration:
Safety and security in the airport
- accompanying persons with the exception of some cases, will not be able to enter the airport terminals;
- wearing of a face mask, physical distancing between individuals of 1.5 meters, and following hygiene procedures (washing hands with soap, avoiding touching the face, minimizing contact with surfaces, following the instructions for wearing the mask) will be required within the airport;
- within the airport, access to non-essential airport services should be limited, other services should, where possible, be switched to self-service or introduce electronic processes such as touch-free payment in order to reduce contact with surfaces and other people;
- vending machines for acquiring face masks should be installed at the airport;
- symptomatic passengers may not be allowed in the airport;
- informing passengers about the rules of conduct at the airport will be carried out in advance, as well as at the airport;
- cleaning and disinfection procedures should be strengthened in intensity and frequency.
Boarding and disembarking from an aircraft
- boarding the aircraft and disembarking can be carried out by walking in a spaced manner from the gate to the parked aircraft on the apron, or via buses (accommodating for physical distancing inside them) to the parked aircraft or via an air bridge directly onto the aircraft;
- passengers boarding should be performed by rows starting with the furthest row from the aircraft doors used in the embarkation process or, alternatively, all window seats, then middle seats, followed by aisle seats should be considered.;
- on the final part of the stair platform (or bridge) should be placed an automated disinfection dispenser where the passengers can disinfect their hands before boarding, as well as a disinfection tray where the passengers have to step on a disinfectant soaked carpet;
- disembarkation from the aircraft should be performed maintaining physical distance by rows starting with the closest rows to the exits in use, in the order aisle, middle and window seats, or an alternative procedure that would ensure physical distancing to the maximum extent possible and avoid queuing.
Safety during the flight
- passengers and crew must wear face masks during the flight; the passenger must have masks in sufficient quantity for the duration of the flight;
- after each flight, enhanced cleaning and disinfection of the aircraft cabin will be carried out; according to separate procedures, cleaning and disinfection will be carried out after arrival from regions with an increased risk of contamination, as well as in the case of identifying symptomatic passengers during the flight;
- fresh air flow in the cabin will be ensured by high-performance HEPA filters that can remove very small particles, including some viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Although HEPA has not yet been tested with the COVID-19 virus, the average size of a COVID-19 particle is 0.125 microns, they have been tested at these particle sizes and proven the efficiency; fresh air will be supplied to the cabin every five minutes;
- passengers should receive detailed instructions on the preventive measures that are applied during the flight and the rules of conduct that they must follow;
- in the event that, after take-off, a passenger shows symptoms compatible with COVID-19, this passenger, if possible, should be isolated on-board; if such a passenger does not travel alone, the entire group must be isolated;
- the provision of services on board will be minimised and the hygiene compliance regime will be strengthened — mandatory hand washing before eating or drinking, each passenger will receive an antiseptic;
- on-board meals, drinks, and magazines will be provided in additional individual packaging; if possible, touch-free payment for services should be introduced;
- measures should be put into place to avoid passengers queuing in the aisle or the galleys for the use of the lavatories; one of the lavatories may be reserved for crew use only; if a symptomatic passenger is on board, one of the lavatories must be reserved for this passenger use only;
- depending on the flight load, passengers will be accommodated with the greatest possible distance from each other.
Given the lack of official reports on possible restrictions on entry as of 28 May, tickets are available for sale starting 23 June to the following destinations: Spain, Bulgaria, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Armenia, Portugal, Albania, Israel. Destinations such as Cyprus, Georgia, and Greece are not available until 30 June, according to the decisions of the governments of these countries to restrict the entry of foreigners.
We closely monitor the decisions of governments, analyse when and under what conditions a particular country plans to lift the quarantine. According to these data, ticket sales for one direction or another will be opened.
It is possible that due to a sudden deterioration in the epidemiological situation, the restrictions of the host country or Ukraine will again be strengthened. In this case, flights can be rescheduled, and the airline will offer flexible conditions for reimbursing tickets for canceled flights:
- refund of the ticket in the form of a 120% promotional code of the amount of the unused part of the reservation*,
- the possibility to change the departure date without additional fees,
- reimbursement of the cost of the ticket in accordance with the terms of the fare.
Resumption of air travel requires a coordinated effort at the interstate level. We look forward to agreeing on all the necessary conditions for the safe opening of borders. As soon as the new rules for air travel are approved, we’ll publish this information. Stay tuned for updates on skyup.aero and the SkyUp Airlines Facebook page.
*The unused part of the booking should be understood as a ticket for a flight, which cannot be completed due to the air passenger transportation ban. For example, you purchased two tickets for flights in one booking (one ticket to the destination and another one back). Of these, you used one ticket, and you could not use the other due to the quarantine. Then, accordingly, the promotional code can be applied to only one unused ticket.