O’Leary’s Kyiv visit: Ryanair will base 30 Boeing 737 MAXs in Ukraine

Ryanair is going to base up to 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Ukraine
Renatas Repcinskas / Shutterstock.com

Ryanair announced that it would invest $3 billion into Ukraine after its war with Russia ends. 

The low-cost carrier announced the news as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael O’Leary visited Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 20, 2023. There, O’Leary met with Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Deputy Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine and Minister for Infrastructure, and Oleksiy Dubrevskyy, the CEO of Kyiv Borispil International Airport (KBP). 

Ryanair’s delegation, comprised of senior management of the airline, looked at KBP’s terminals and other infrastructure, “where they saw the excellent state of the airport infrastructure and its operational readiness to resume flights when safe to do so”. 

“Ryanair remains a committed partner in rebuilding and investing in Ukraine aviation. Today we saw that in the most difficult conditions of war, the Boryspil airport team demonstrates its professionalism and is fully ready for the resumption of flights as soon as possible,” O’Leary said. 

According to the Irish airline group, it will be prepared to launch 600 weekly flights from/to Ukraine within eight weeks of the country’s air space opening up. Among the 600 weekly flights, Ryanair plans to operate international flights to over 20 capitals in the European Union (EU), as well as domestic flights between Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa. 

All in all, Ryanair plans to offer over five million seats to and from the war-ravaged country, increasing the capacity to over 10 million seats in a five-year period. To offer those seats, the carrier will place up to 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, that are worth over $3 billion in list prices, which typically are unrepresentative of the true prices of aircraft, in the three Ukrainian cities. 

O’Leary noted that Ryanair was the second-largest airline in Ukraine before February 2022, when Russia unlawfully invaded the country. 

“The fastest way to rebuild and restore the Ukrainian economy will be with low fare air travel,” he added. 

Kubrakov said that while it is vital to maintain the operability of the country’s airports and the skills of employees working in the industry, Ukraine is already working on a plan to resume flights as soon as the war ends. 

“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,” Dubresvkyy concluded. 

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