Ukraine’s largest airline may sue again in tussle with low-cost Ryanair

KIEV: Ukraine’s largest airline may launch new legal action over the entry of Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair into the market if its complaints over airport slots are not addressed, its chief executive said.
The Western-backed government feted Ryanair’s expected arrival in September as a sign of its pro-business credentials to attract foreign investors and prise open sectors traditionally dominated by local tycoons. But Ukraine International Airlines, which is part-owned by one of the country’s richest magnates, Ihor Kolomoisky, says the Kiev authorities have gone out of their way to support Ryanair while being slow to help local carriers grow.
UIA launched legal action against the government last year and Ryanair walked away from talks saying Ukraine was “not yet a sufficiently mature or reliable business location”. Ryanair returned after more negotiations backed by the president.
In his first interview since Ryanair announced its entry on March 23, UIA’s CEO Yuri Miroshnikov said Ryanair has started selling tickets for flights at Kiev’s Boryspil airport without getting permission for the timings. “Slots which they are expecting to receive are all occupied by Ukraine International flights, transit flights, where the connecting times are very important, where we know, we already understand that airport infrastructure in these peak times is a bottleneck for us,” he said.
“I can have only one explanation: They (Ryanair) hope and believe that under pressure from various sources the issue somehow will be resolved (in their favour),” he said. “And they don’t care.” “If that solution will damage Ukraine International, yes we definitely will protect our interests in the court,” he said, without specifying whom UIA would take to court. — Reuters