DALLAS – During a visit to war-torn Ukraine, Ryanair (FR) boss Michael O’Leary has announced that it will invest up to US$3bn in the country once the war with Russia ends.
O’Leary was joined by FR DAC chief executive Eddie Wilson and commercial director Jason McGuinness at a visit to Boryspil International Aiport (KBP). Joined by Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, the team met representatives from Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa airports to look at ways the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) could return to the Ukrainian market.
The country’s airspace has been closed to civilian aircraft since the war began in 2022. Previously Ryanair had been the second largest carrier in the country, behind state-owned Ukraine International Airlines (PS).
The airline has said it will return to the country within eight weeks of its air space reopening. Once the infrastructure has been restored, FR will recommence operations at Kharkiv (HRK) and Kherson (KHE) airports and relaunch daily domestic flights KBP, Lviv (LWO) and Odesa (ODS). Eventually, it will base up to 30 Boeing 737 MAX airliners and connect these Ukrainian cities with over 20 European destinations.
Speaking in Kyiv, O’Leary said, “Ryanair remains committed to rebuilding and investing in Ukraine. We currently employ hundreds of Ukrainian pilots, cabin crew and IT professionals, and we will look to creating thousands of new jobs in aviation for Ukrainian citizens when Ukraine skies reopen. Ukraine is a country of 40 million people, many of whom have been dispersed across Europe over the past year. We look forward to being able to reunite these families using Ryanair low-fare services to the main Ukrainian airports as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Ryanair’s low fares services will be critical to the rebuilding and recovery of the Ukrainian economy, and we will invest heavily in partnership with the Ukrainian Govt and Ukraine’s main airports as we grow to carry up to 10m passengers p.a. to/from Ukraine once we are allowed to do so by the European and Ukrainian Regulatory Authorities.”
Oleksiy Dubrevskyy, CEO of Boryspil Airport, added, “The visit of Ryanair senior management to Boryspil Airport is a powerful signal that the largest airline in Europe sees huge potential in the Ukrainian air transport market. We, meanwhile, are ready to move from strategic planning to specific operational actions when the airspace becomes open and safe for civil aviation. I strongly believe that Boryspil Airport will remain the main air gate for the return of our citizens to Ukraine and will continue to play a leading role in the recovery of the Ukrainian economy.”
Featured Image: The meeting at Boryspil International Airport (KBP) was held yesterday. Photo: Ryanair.