The technical condition of the airport’s runway may prevent it from receiving flights even after the end of the war.
In a month or two, Ukraine wants to restore passenger flights from Uzhgorod airportHowever, experts say that so far this does not make economic sense, and the airport itself is technically not ready for this.
This was stated by the former head of the State Aviation Service Denis Antonyuk, writes Forbes Ukraine.
The resumption of flights depends not only on the regional authorities. The lighting system, runway and other infrastructure elements are not ready to receive regular flights.
The technical condition of the airport’s runway may prevent it from receiving flights even after the end of the war. The runway cannot accept the most common types of Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 aircraft, which carry 180-200 passengers, says Denis Antonyuk. Smaller aircraft, such as the Embraer ERJ-145, which carries approximately 50 passengers, will be able to fly at the airport.
In this case, the transportation of one passenger and, accordingly, the ticket price will be several times higher than the transportation of the same passenger from neighboring Slovak or Hungarian airports, Denis Antonyuk believes. “Now it makes no economic sense to open flights to Uzhgorod. It is cheaper for passengers to get to the airport of the same Slovak Kosice, from where they can fly in one direction or another,” he said.
During the war, it makes sense to open flights from Ukrainian Uzhgorod to neighboring aviation hubs, for example, to Frankfurt am Main or Istanbul, Denis Antonyuk believes. These flights could be used by both Ukrainians who live in Germany and Ukrainians who fly to Ukraine, for example, from the USA with a change in Germany.
However, these advantages immediately disappear if flights are delayed due to air raids. For example, if an air raid alert is announced at the Uzhgorod airport during landing, as a result of which the flight to Frankfurt am Main is delayed by an hour or two, then with a high probability the passenger will “fly off” the connection in Germany to an American flight, says Denis Antonyuk.
However, there are opportunities to reopen the airport. It is possible to ensure safe flights during the war, since almost the entire process of takeoff and landing near this airport is carried out through the airspace of neighboring Slovakia, Antonyuk said. In fact, the aircraft will stay in Ukrainian airspace for the minimum possible time, he explains.
First, the military must ensure flight safety. After that, they must inform the State Aviation Service about it, which, in turn, will issue the necessary permission to fly to Uzhgorod airport.
Now the opening of the airport will be of more political than commercial importance, Antonyuk believes. “It is important for Ukraine to show the world that, despite the war, we have an airport that operates, that we have a connection with the outside world,” he explains.
But not only the war prevented the restoration of the airport in Uzhgorod. In order to be able to resume flights, the owners of the aircraft (usually airlines lease aircraft) and insurance companies that cover possible risks must still agree with this. They must be satisfied with security measures, says UIA President in 2004-2019 Yuri Miroshnikov. “After all, all the risks for the aircraft and passengers on the ground remain,” he adds.
Recall that earlier the chairman of the Transcarpathian Regional Council Volodymyr Chubirko said that Uzhgorod airport is preparing to open and even already allocated money for this.
The OVA later explained that airport “Uzhgorod” not ready to resume work anytime soon. In addition, the required documents are missing.