Ukraine seat capacity set to grow by 17% in 2018; Ryanair planning to join the party in October, one of nine new carriers this year
Nestled in Eastern Europe, Ukraine is home to a population of approximately 45 million people, while its GDP grew by around 22% in 2017 as the nation returned to stability following a couple of years of unrest. The country’s aviation market also appears to be booming, with many airlines taking advantage of the recent surge in the nation’s development by returning, or launching, flights to the country this year, including Europe’s biggest LCC Ryanair. It should be pointed out that in this analysis, anna.aero has left out Simferopol due to the current situation that surrounds its political status.
Kiev’s home to 75% of seats
This year Kiev is home to roughly 75% of all seats being flown in Ukraine, with capacity from the capital city growing by 18% in 2018. Most of this capacity is flown from Kiev Boryspil, which has an 81% share of all seats from the capital this year. Outside of Kiev, a number of airports are also posting strong growth, with only three of the 11 analysed posting a reduction in operations based on OAG schedules. In total 20.79 million seats are scheduled to be flown from the Ukraine this year, up from a total of just under 17.80 million in 2017. Of all seats in 2018, just under 14% will be flown by a low-cost carrier, with the business model’s market share of seats from the nation growing from 9.6% in 2017.
Ukraine’s busiest non-capital airport is Lviv, nestled around 80 kilometres away from the Polish border. This year the airport is reporting a 39% increase in capacity, having broken the one million passenger barrier for the first time in 2017, showing that the facility is certainly on a growth charge. As Odessa Airport also welcomed over one million passengers last year, it means that four airports in Ukraine handle a seven-digit passenger throughput operation. One factor which is helping push Lviv Airport up the rankings this year is Ryanair, which will launch five new routes in October, while Wizz Air and Ernest have also added a multitude of services in recent months.
National carrier leads the charge
Ukraine International Airlines is the leading carrier in its home market, accounting for 51% of all departing seats from the nation this year, the same market share that it held in 2017. The carrier is reporting an 18% rise in seats, with most of these being flown from the country’s leading airport – Boryspil. However, it should be noted that Ukraine’s second largest airline, Wizz Air, is posting a 105% increase in departing seats this year, a result of it basing a third aircraft at Zhulyany Airport, along with new routes being launched to Kharkiv and Lviv, with the former seeing four new routes from the ULCC, which will begin towards the start of the W18/19 season, namely Gdansk, London Luton, Vienna and Wroclaw.
This year sees nine new carrier’s gracing the tarmac of multiple airports in Ukraine, with the latest entrants to the country market including Air Moldova, SWISS, Ryanair, Myway Airlines, Bulgaria Air, Brussels Airlines, Iraqi Airways, Air Malta and TAROM. A total of 47 scheduled airlines will offer flights from Ukraine this year.
Turkey leads despite cutbacks; Poland and Italy flying
Ukraine’s leading country market is Turkey, with over 928,000 departing seats being offered in S18. However, this result is a 15% reduction versus the 1.10 million one-way seats which were offered in S17. The factors of this reduction include Ukraine International Airlines not operating a number of scheduled charter services this year versus last year, while Wind Rose has cut capacity on its services between the two nations by 56% this summer. Despite these losses, Turkish Airlines (14% growth in S18 vs S17), Ukraine International Airlines (6.3%), Pegasus Airlines (42%) and Onur Air (28%) are all reporting growth in the country market pairing.
Two nations which have charged up the top 12 rankings include Poland and Italy, with both posting over a 70% rise in capacity this summer. A total of eight new routes have been launched between Ukraine and Poland since the start of 2018, with Ukraine International Airlines linking Boryspil to Krakow, while YanAir has also added Krakow to its route map, launching services from Odessa in May. LOT Polish Airlines has added three new routes, namely from Olsztyn-Mazury to Lviv, Warsaw Chopin to Zaporizhia, and Bydgoszcz to Zhulyany. Finally Wizz Air has introduced flights from Katowice to Kharkiv and Lviv, while the latter Ukrainian airport has also greeted flights from Gdansk with the ULCC. More expansion to Poland is due later this year when Lviv welcomes Krakow and Warsaw Modlin services, while Boryspil will see the Irish airline add flights from Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Modlin and Wroclaw. Apart from the domestic market and Austria, all other countries in the top 12 are posting double-digit growth in S18.