A single Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-900ER is currently being seen at a plethora of destinations across Europe, ranging from Lisbon and Oslo to Berlin and Larnaca. Find out why…
This comes after the Ukrainian flag carrier struck a wet lease deal with airBaltic regarding one airframe, the 2009-built narrowbody, UR-PSL (c/n 36087) – pictured here back in October 2021. As a result, the CFM International CFM56-powered jet has, since May 1, been based in Riga, Latvia, performing rotations across the airBaltic network for the “short term”.
Up to four crews, comprising 28 employees, from UIA are to be involved with the aircraft as it operates for airBaltic, although, terms of the contract dictate a service representative from the Latvian carrier must also be present during these wet lease sorties. The UIA staff will wear their original company’s uniform while the 737-900 will retain the Kyiv-based firm’s full livery.
A UIA announcement from May 2 said the “deadline for the operation of the [Ukrainian operator’s] aircraft in the airBaltic fleet [was] currently being specified by partners”.
Several destinations were initially revealed for the 737-900’s deployment across airBaltic’s European network including Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid and Oslo. As of today (May 5), UR-PSL had also visited Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon and Malaga since the beginning of the month and, at the time of writing, had just landed back into Riga to conclude a return trip down to Larnaca, Cyprus.
Sergey Fomenko VP commerce, Ukraine International Airlines, said: “We would like to thank our very good partner and friend airBaltic for selecting Ukraine International Airlines as a capacity provider on an ACMI basis for its network. Especially now, when UIA temporarily cannot operate flights to and from Ukraine such an act of international aviation cooperation is very symbolic and important. UIA as [an] IOSA-certified carrier is ready to deliver high-quality service on routes of airBaltic.”
Martin Gauss, airBaltic chief executive officer, added: “Ukraine International Airlines has been a reliable long-term partner of airBaltic. It is now a very challenging time for the Ukrainian people and their national airline. By temporarily wet leasing their aircraft, we are also providing short term work to the employees of Ukraine International Airlines.”
Evheniy Dykhne, CEO of UIA, also added: “We are sincerely glad that our European partners are helping both the Ukrainian state and business with a clear, absolutely transparent support for Ukraine. This is especially true against the backdrop of the recent decision by UIA Compliance not to wet lease its aircraft to operators that continue to fly to Russia. This narrows down the scope of opportunities, but it is fully consistent with our morality.”