Ryanair arrives in Ukraine with Kiev and Lviv links

David O’Brien CCO of Ryanair and Volodymyr Omelyan, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, officially announce that Ryanair is to begin serving Ukraine from the start of W17/18. The Irish ULCC will commence four new services from the capital’s Kiev Boryspil Airport and seven from Lviv Airport in western Ukraine. O’Brien said: “Ryanair will be another bridge that connects the infrastructure of Ukraine with Europe and it will be a good signal for the world’s major investors.”

Less than 24 hours after Wizz Air revealed its own four new routes from Ukraine, Ryanair stomps all over it (in typical fashion) by announcing its own arrival in the country, with four routes from Kiev Boryspil and seven routes from Lviv. Launching in W17/18, the new routes (and weekly frequencies) are as follows:

  • From Kiev Boryspil (KBP): Eindhoven (three); London Stansted (five); Manchester (three); Stockholm Skavtsa (four). 
  • From Lviv (LWO): Berlin Schönefeld (two); Budapest (two); Eindhoven (two); Krakow (three); London Stansted (two); Memmingen(two); and Wroclaw (three).

Referring to schedules for the week commencing 16 March (as the airport’s W17/18 schedules are currently not complete), there are 20 carriers presently operating from Boryspil, led by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA). Based on these weekly capacities not changing between now and the start of W17/18, Ryanair’s arrival at the airport will see it immediately become the #5 carrier at the airport in terms of weekly seats available. UIA will be increasing its dominance at Boryspil this summer, it already flies to 49 destinations, by adding two further connections to its largest operation – a daily domestic service to Kherson (14 April), as well as a daily route to Budapest (15 June). 

Airline Weekly Seats Routes (WF)
Ukraine Intl. Airlines 61,682 Top 10: Minsk (21); Tel Aviv (18); Istanbul Atatürk (16); Kharkiv (14); Odessa (14); Tbilisi (14); Vienna (14), Warsaw Chopin (14); Paris CDG (13); Ivano-Frankivsk (13)
Lufthansa 4,336 Frankfurt (14); Munich (14)
Turkish Airlines 3,463 Istanbul Atatürk (13); Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (3)
Wind Rose 3,052 Sharm El Sheikh (10); Hurghada (4)
Ryanair 2,835 Eindhoven (three); London Stansted (five); Manchester (three); Stockholm Skavtsa (four)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 16 March.

Given the three country markets in which Ryanair plans to operate – the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK – UIA has a presence in all three but will not face direct city pair competition from the Irish ULCC. UIA’s 12 times weekly service to London Gatwick will come under some pressure from Ryanair’s five times weekly London Stansted operation, as will its 11 times weekly Stockholm Arlanda route from the ULCC’s four times weekly Stockholm Skavsta rotations. UIA’s 12 times weekly Amsterdam flights will perhaps face less impact than these two other city pairs, but undoubtedly some point-to-point traffic wanting a final destination in Eindhoven may be lost to the ULCC’s three times weekly route.

Wizz Air – running scared??

Up until Ryanair’s announcement, Wizz Air was the low-cost airline big noise in town, with its operation across Kiev at the city’s Zhulyany airport. Looking at the airport’s schedules for the week commencing 16 March (as the airport’s W17/18 schedules currently only have three airlines filed), there are presently seven carriers operating from the airport, led by Wizz Air. This will increase to nine over the summer, after Georgian Airways launches its daily service from Tbilisi (2 Apr) and Alitalia starts a daily connection from Rome Fiumicino (1 May). Wizz Air’s current network from Zhulyany is as follows:

Wizz Air will have strengthened its position in the capital city before Ryanair’s launch, as the Budapest-based ULCC plans to start six more services from Zhulyany this summer – Warsaw Chopin (1 July, three weekly frequencies); Lublin (25 August, two); Nuremberg (25 August, two); Poznan (25 August, two); Copenhagen (26 August, three); and Frankfurt Hahn (26 August, three). These new routes will add 15 weekly frequencies and 2,700 weekly seats to Wizz Air’s capacity at Zhulyany, meaning it will be around three times the size of Ryanair when the latter begins its operations at Boryspil.

The key battleground in Kiev between the two airlines will be to the UK, and more specifically to London – with Wizz Air already flying twice-weekly to Luton, and Ryanair offering five times weekly operations to Stansted from W17/18, as well as three times weekly to Manchester. The Zhulyany incumbent presently does not have any services to Sweden or the Netherlands, so there is little further network overlap.

Ryanair romps into #2 spot in Lviv 

Ryanair’s arrival in Lviv is likely to have far more of a wide-ranging impact, as the ULCC’s seven services and 16 weekly frequencies will immediately see it take the #2 position at the airport behind UIA. According to this week’s schedules, the airport which serves the largest city in western Ukraine is currently served by 14 airlines, of which Wizz Air is not one. Of the 16 city pairs operating from Lviv at this time, only one of Ryanair’s routes will face competition, albeit indirect. Lufthansa has a five times weekly service to its second largest hub at Munich, whereas Ryanair will offer twice-weekly rotations to nearby Memmingen.

Airline Weekly Seats Routes (WF)
Ukraine Intl. Airlines 3,118 Kiev Boryspil (11); Hurghada (two); Tel Aviv (two); Bologna (one); Madrid (one); Rome Fiumicino (one)
Ryanair 3,024 Berlin Schönefeld (two); Budapest (two); Eindhoven (two); Krakow (three); London Stansted (two); Memmingen (two); Wroclaw (three)
LOT Polish Airlines 1,045 Warsaw Chopin (13)
Pegasus Airlines 924 Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (five)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 16 March.

By the time Ryanair begins its seven routes this winter, Wizz Air will have returned to Lviv, an airport it last served on 25 April 2015, when referring to OAG schedules. Wizz Air will begin a twice-weekly operation to Berlin Schönefeld on 18 June, which means that Ryanair will be going head-to-head with its fellow ULCC on the 784-kilometre sector.

Ryanair’s eastern expansion

Our data elves reckon that Ryanair’s Boryspil services (its longitude being 30°53’41”) will become the ULCC’s fifth most easterly destination on its network, with Eilat (34°95’19”), Tel Aviv (34°78’18”) Larnaca (33°62’32”) and Paphos (32°42’97”) being further east. Being in western Ukraine, Lviv is significantly further west than the capital, its longitude being 23°57’22”.

What they said…about “powerful low-cost airline Ryanair”

On Ryanair’s launch of services, the DG of Lviv Airport, Tetiana Vasylivna, said: “We are extremely proud and happy to be among the first airports in Ukraine to host flights operated by powerful low-cost airline Ryanair.” She also described the launch as “highly anticipated” by local people as well as “European tourists who have been waiting for the opportunity to travel to the city comfortably and inexpensively for a long time.”

The airline’s CCO David O’Brien, was equally gushing, saying: “Ryanair will be another bridge that connects the infrastructure of Ukraine with Europe and it will be a good signal for the world’s major investors. There is a pretty large potential and fewer connections than there should be. Most Ukrainian traffic as far as I can see goes to Istanbul, Frankfurt or Warsaw.”

Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Volodymyr Omelyan, said: “The arrival of Ryanair in Ukraine is without exaggeration, a remarkable event for Ukraine. Negotiations lasted for several years, and I am proud that our team was able to successfully hold them. Today we can officially declare – Ryanair is in Ukraine.”

Wizz Air Ukraine

Uncannily and surely by no coincidence Wizz Air’s announced its new routes from Ukraine less than 24 hours before Ryanair proclaimed its arrival in the country. While Wizz Air’s three new routes from Kiev Zhulyany above add to its existing S17 plans to launch services to Nuremberg, Warsaw Chopin and Copenhagen, its new route from Lviv marks its return to the airport after a more than three-year hiatus.


  1. David says:

    most probably Riga airport will be next base for FR; despite high base cost compared to vilnius /kaunas…

  2. Tsafrir says:

    Dear Anna Aero, I keep wondering why you are so biased towards “normal” airlines and tend to support anything low-costs do, including twisting reality. For a person who flys a lot for business, it makes little sense. To even mention Memmingen in the geographical context of Munich is really nonsense, and Hahn is no where near Frankfurt. It is just a propganda trick of the lowcosts, and you repeating this as facts means misleading loyal readers like myself. You can just as well call Hanover Hamburg, the distances are similar… the same is valid in regard to passanger numbers. Pretending an airline like Ryanair is larger than the Luftahnsa group is very inventive. Taking ASKs or turnover/revenue into account puts everything in a more realistic context.

    • Marc Watkins says:

      Hi there…I’d like to think that we treat all airlines with equal measure – we love and hate them all. We poke fun at them…and yet we also applaud them for making multi-million euro decisions to launch routes. Ryanair is bigger than LH on one metric (pax carried) and you can argue it either way based on a different metric.

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