Ukraine International Airlines suspends operations

The airline had a small fleet active until September, but disputes between its shareholders would have caused a shutdown.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), Ukraine’s largest airline, was badly affected by the Russian invasion of the country in February. Due to requests from lessors, part of its fleet was taken to other European countries while some planes remained deactivated in Kiev.

With the Ukrainian counter-offensive, however, the UIA resumed flights to destinations closer to the country. Last month, four of the 18 jets that are still under its management flew some routes, being three Boeing 737s and one E190, from Embraer.

Ukraine is a significant customer of the Brazilian manufacturer, originally having six E190s and two E195s, one of which was returned to the leasing company.

Four of the E-Jets are in Kiev while an E190 is in Odessa, both in Ukraine. Only the UR-EMA registration aircraft was active, however, it has not flown since September 16, when it landed in Lotz, Poland.

On the 12th and 19th, two 737s also landed at their destinations and did not take off again until this Tuesday. A Boeing 737-900ER (UR-PSL) performed flight PS2308 between Eilat, Israel, and Bucharest, Romania, on September 30, and since then the airline has suspended its operations.

The single E190 active from Ukraine International until September (Anna Zrevera)

Disagreement between shareholders

The war could be blamed as the cause of the shutdown, but the problem actually involves a disagreement between its shareholders, executives and the leasing companies, according to Avianews.

The airline’s union told the outlet that a dispute over management of Ukraine International Airlines has prevented payments to suppliers and employees.

The conflict between its main shareholders, Aron Maiberg and Ihor Kolomoiskyi, dates back to December 2021, before the Russian invasion. Due to judicial decisions, none of them have the autonomy to make decisions.

Ukraine International Airlines experienced a pretty serious situation in June 2020 when the PR-PSR-registered Boeing 737-800 was shot down shortly after taking off from Tehran International Airport in Iran.

By mistake, the country’s military launched two missiles towards the aircraft that ended up crashing with 176 people on board.

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