KIEV, October 25. Air communication between Russia and Ukraine is terminated on October 25. The initiator of the Ukrainian side. Kiev banned all Russian airlines on flights in the airspace of Ukraine, including direct flights and transit flights. The first reaction of the Kremlin to end the air service became a surprised disbelief. “Based on the experience of the last 20 months, we can’t deny the hypothetical possibility of such acts of madness on the part of Kiev”, – said on this occasion, the President’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.
The first signal of the emergence in Kiev of the idea of aviataksi, were published late on the evening of 16 September on the website of President Poroshenko’s “sanctions list”. In them was 388 individuals and 105 legal entities, including Russian companies, banks, the military-industrial complex. The list “Aeroflot” and about 20 Russian airlines, which is partially or completely banned the flights, transportation and transit over the territory of Ukraine. The document contained many errors and were manifestly absurd, therefore, was soon removed from the resource “for revision”.
However, the list disappeared, and the idea of sanctions in avasphere left.
Yatsenyuk raised his hand to heaven
After nine days, on 25 September, Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk made a statement about a complete ban on flights of Russian airlines. “According to the decision of the Council of national security and defense of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government takes the decision to ban flights of Russian airlines. The Cabinet also bans transit flights by Russian airlines through the territory of Ukraine, if they contain military goods, dual-use or Russian military manpower,” – said Yatsenyuk.
Several hours later, the Ministry of infrastructure of Ukraine that are directly responsible for such issues, not only confirmed the information about the termination of flights, but also called a specific date – 25 October. “On behalf of the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the state aviation service of Ukraine informed the Russian airline, caught in the sanctions list, that they will not be granted permission to perform flights in the Ukrainian city with the beginning of the 2015-2016 winter season (i.e. from 25 October 2015)”, – stated in the message.
Russia had to answer the mirror
The initial surprise, Moscow was soon replaced by the familiar attempts patient exhortation, and then, under the pressure of impending financial losses, Russia announced it would impose retaliatory measures against Ukrainian airlines. The government of the Russian Federation on 28 September gave the instruction to send Ukrainian airlines notice of termination of use of air space of Russia from October 25. The ban concerned the three largest Ukrainian enterprises: “Ukraine International airlines”, “Motor Sich”, YanAir.
“In accordance with the instruction of Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev the Ministry of transport of Russia has directed to Federal Agency of air transport (Rosaviation) to provide the airlines of Ukraine, committing or planning to operate flights to destinations in the territory of the Russian Federation, notice of the termination of use of air space of Russia from October 25,” – said the press service.
Kiev: “And us for what?”
The introduction of retaliatory sanctions by the Russian aviation authorities has become Ukraine’s “surprise”. Rapid perturbation of the local media was preceded by a special statement of the head of the Cabinet, who explained that sanctions against Russian airlines, is entered because of their “illegal” flights in the Russian Crimea.
“The motivation for the introduction of sanctions against Russian companies clear and understandable. The Russian company has violated the airspace of Ukraine illegally performing flights on the territory of Ukraine – in Crimea. And these companies, including Aeroflot got to the list”, – said Yatsenyuk on the government meeting.
By his logic, in response to “informed Ukrainian” sanctions Russia imposed a “baseless”.
The volume of air
Air communication of Russia and Ukraine goes on a number of fronts: from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Surgut. Flights to Kiev, Odessa and Lviv execute five Russian airlines – Aeroflot, Transaero, Sibir, UTair and Rossiya. On the Ukrainian side from Kiev, Odessa, Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad operate flights, “Dniproavia”, “Motor Sich” and “Ukraine International airlines”. Passenger traffic between the two countries for 8 months of 2015 amounted to approximately 800 thousand people.
As noted in the Federal air transport Agency, “unfortunately, the hasty decision of the Kiev authorities in the most painful way will hurt the citizens of Ukraine. According to Russian airlines, more than 70% of passengers of all flights between the two States formulated by the Ukrainians”.
Flights with two stopovers
“Spectacular gesture” the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers turned to the Ukrainian economy is in serious financial losses. Prices on flight Kyiv-Moscow rose sharply. Jeopardy the entire Ukrainian air infrastructure.
“Yes, tickets will inevitably become more expensive, because immediately pick up the whole traffic flow is impossible. Not enough resources in the market of flights from other countries. That is, we considered alternative flights through Minsk, for example, or via Riga. However, between these countries and Russia has intergovernmental agreements that regulate the number of frequencies, designated carriers and the number of passengers”, – said the press Secretary of the largest Ukrainian airline “Ukraine International airlines” (UIA) Eugene Stacka.
According to her, the result of the bans could be “loss of jobs by the airline staff and, of course, the loss of revenue to the state budget of Ukraine”. Serious damage will incur Ukrainian international airport “Kyiv” (Zhulyany), which will lose about 30% of revenues.
In turn, the state enterprise of air traffic service of Ukraine “UkSATSE” (“Alreadygone”) may annually lose up to $150 million, according to the former Deputy Minister of infrastructure Oleksandr Kava.
Losses of Russian airlines will be much lower, however, we are talking about several tens of millions of dollars, said the President of the Association of air transport operators (air transport operators Association) Vladimir Tasun.
Options negative scenario, the Federal air transport Agency started work in mid October. “If I agree will fail it is not excluded that the same “Victory” will carry Russian passengers to Minsk and then to Kiev, she will deliver their buses”. The airline, on 20 October even received from the Federal air transport Agency allowance for flights to Minsk with a frequency of 14 times a week. But this scheme eventually decided to give up. “Because of the inconvenience to passengers,” the source explained.
“Those who usually choose a plane is unlikely to want to take the bus,” explained the editor of aviation portal “Airport” Oleg Panteleev. For those who used to fly there is only one option – flying to Kiev with transit through Minsk, Chisinau and Istanbul. Transit on the route Moscow-Minsk-Kiev will increase the time until at least four hours.
As any of the recent high-profile initiatives of the Ukrainian government, the ban on air travel was a surprising development. Several of the Ukrainian airlines appealed to the “Federal air transport Agency” with the request to allow them to continue flying in winter navigation 2015-2016. In particular, “Atlasjet Ukraine” is asking to open the navigation of flights on three routes: Kiev – Moscow, Odessa – Moscow and Kiev – St. Petersburg, “UTair-Ukraine” – Kiev – Moscow and Lviv – Moscow.
Russia again went to meet him, agreeing to talks in the Ukrainian side.
“We have sent three proposals – two proposals from the Ministry of transport, one sentence from the Federal air transport Agency – consultations. We provided air transport agreement – is there a standard phrase that in case of conflict situations, all issues are resolved through consultations of the aviation authorities. Here the decision on the part of Ukraine was taken, and consultation not been undertaken. So the first thing we suggest is let’s have consultations,” said Deputy transport Minister Valery Okulov.
First consultations were held idle
First consultations on resumption of air service took place on 23 October in Brussels. Russia has offered Ukraine to remove all existing restrictions on direct flights and transit for Russian and Ukrainian airlines. “Russia’s position will be reported to the Ukrainian delegation to the leadership of Ukraine”, – reported the press service of the Ministry of infrastructure of Ukraine.
It was originally planned to agree on what each side will be flying to perform at least one carrier, and, under good circumstances, maybe even 2-3 airlines from each side. Fly from Russia could loukoster “Victory”, which, according to the source, could get at the end of October from the Federal air transport Agency tolerances for the flights to Kiev and Odessa.
But to reach an agreement on the abolition of restrictions in mutual negotiations, according to a diplomatic source in Brussels failed. “Probably because of the lack of authority of the Ukrainian side was unable essentially to discuss these constructive suggestions, and instead offered to consider removing mutual restrictions solely on transit flights”, – have informed in Rosaviation.
“Despite these consultations, since October 25, the sanctions will come into force fully. Therefore, from October 25 flights from the Russian cities”, – stated the Minister of infrastructure of Ukraine Andrey Pivovarsky.
The wings will replace rails and sleepers
On the background of the announced cessation of flights between the countries, the company Russian Railways registered a growth in sales of tickets for the Ukrainian direction. “The rise in sales of tickets in the message with Ukraine: for example, selling tickets on the route Moscow-Kiev departure in November increased 1.5 times in comparison with November 2014”, – said the representative of RZD.
Direct trains from Ukraine to the Russian formation does not currently run. On the territory of Ukraine passes one transit train “Federal passenger company” the message Moscow – Chisinau. It runs with a stop in Kiev and several other cities.
In General, currently in the message Russia – Ukraine daily run 10-11 trains. Including 6-7 trains of Ukrainian Railways (Moscow – Nikolaev, Moscow – Kharkov, Moscow – Dnepropetrovsk, Moscow – Kiev, Moscow – Odessa, Moscow – Lviv), three trains of the railway of Moldova (two trains the message Moscow – Chisinau and one train Saint Petersburg – Chisinau). During the formation of trains of carriers include in their composition from 9 to 18 cars.
According to the Railways, the level of occupancy of trains varies from 20 to 80%. “This proves the ability of carriers to carry more passengers using existing structures and, if necessary, to increase the composition of these trains through additional carriages,” said a company representative.