Popular low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair says it will be the first airline to return to Ukraine.
Speaking during a press briefing on Wednesday 2 March, the airline’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary said the airline will return to the eastern European country “when it is safe to do so.” However, he also warned that might not be until the winter when “hopefully the Ukrainians will have seen off the Russians and sent them back to where they came from.”
To help with transporting medical supplies and humanitarian aid the LCC is, for the first time in 30 years, transporting cargo by loading supplies into the bellies of its aircraft to Polish airports and liaising with Ukrainian embassies.
“The poles have been phenomenal in the whole Ukrainian crisis. The Polish airports, the Polish military are willing to take all those humanitarian supplies off the belly of the aircraft and straight to the Ukrainian border,” O’Leary commented.
Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, Ryanair was one of largest airlines flying in and out of the country and was the second largest airline in the Ukrainian market with a market share of 12.3% in February 2022, according to IBA.
Before the crisis in the Ukraine unfolded Ryanair was expecting to fly two million passengers in and out of Ukraine this financial year.
The airline has also announced its largest summer schedule from its three London airports: Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. The airline is introducing 14 new routes from the three London hubs, including Burgas, Catania, Helsinki, Lublin, Maastricht, Madeira, Menorca, Naples, Orebro, Stockholm, Tampere, Tangier, Trapani and Vaxjo. Underlining the impact the Ukraine crisis will have on oil prices O’Leary did warn that air fares this summer will be materially higher but that his airline was largely insulated from surging prices due to its fuel hedging strategy, with 80% of its jet fuel requirements hedged at $65 dollars a barrel until 2023.