The decision comes following the delivery of eight B737-800 this year, with another aircraft of the same type to join the fleet by the end of 2016. The jets have been used to increase frequencies on popular routes and launch new destinations.
The Ukrainian carrier is now considering entering the Canadian market in 2018, a year ahead of initial plans. However, Miroshnikov concedes that in order to offset the route’s high seasonality, the airline must resume flights to east-bound markets such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran and has appealed to Ukrainian regulators to make this possible. Growth on this front is being hampered by Russia’s decision last year to block off its airspace to all Ukrainian carriers in a tit-for-tat move. Furthermore, the airline was recently forced to indefinitely postpone the resumption of scheduled services linking its Kiev Boryspil hub with Ashgabat due to issues with the bilateral air service agreement between the two countries.
UIA currently operates a fleet of thirty-nine aircraft, including three B737-300s, one B737-300(F), six B737-500s, sixteen B737-800s, four B737-900(ER)s and B767-300(ER)s each, as well as five EMB-190s. Its network covers sixty destinations across Europe, Asia and North America.
Photo:Alain Charpentier- TLS