Bees Airline warns of Ryanair monopoly risks in post-war Ukraine
Ukraine's airlines will require government assistance after the war concludes if they hope to compete against European carriers like Ryanair, Yevhen Hainatskyi, CEO and co-owner of Bees Airline said in an interview with LIGA.net.
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"If we grant Ryanair the open sky scheme, then all of us will stay on the ground and work to service this airline," Hainatskyi stated.
According to the businessman, Ukrainian SkyUp, Windrose or Bees Airline will not be able to compete with Ryanair or Wizz Air, which have no financial problems and are already preparing to return to Ukraine.
"Ryanair said that as soon as our airspace opens, they will immediately transfer 20 planes here to make a network of flights to all countries. In this case, what will Bees Airline do, which wants, for example, to resume flights Kyiv-Prague, where one or two flights a day are already operated by Ryanair? And besides, they sell tickets for 15 euros?" Hainatskyi said.
He added that Bees Airline does not have a financial cushion, but there are huge lines of passengers for refunds.
"That is, if there is no regulation of this issue at the state level, neither we, nor SkyUp, nor UIA, nor Windrose will take off. We need some regulation, some solution, because, on the one hand, we have a single aviation space with Europe and we cannot prohibit them from flying here. On the other hand, we have to think about our workplaces and our airlines," he added.
Hainatskyi considers conditions like parity to be one of the possible solutions. Instead of the scheme "20 flights a week on the Kyiv-Prague route are operated by Ryanair and other Western carriers", he offers, for example, the scheme "10 flights from that side and 10 from our carriers".
A delegation of Ryanair management arrived in Ukraine on July 20. The executive director of the airline, Michael O'Leary, said that Ryanair is considering the possibility of resuming a limited number of flights to Ukraine by the end of 2023, subject to successful negotiations with Ukraine regarding the partial opening of the airspace.
Bees Airline, the youngest Ukrainian airline, received an operator's certificate on March 12, 2021, and made its first flight on March 18, 2021.
On February 15, 2022, Bees Airline announced that it was forced to relocate all its aircraft abroad at the request of leasing companies.
Bees Airline was called the most promising in the domestic air transport market due to the significant growth rate at the time. But during the war, it became the only one who was deprived of the operator's certificate by the State Aviation Service, without which the carrier has no right to fly.
Bees Airline's fleet consisted of four Boeing 737-800 NGs. The main owner of Bees Airline LLC is entrepreneur Serhiy Smyrnyi (90%), who also owns the agricultural company Continent.