Ukrainian government to launch new state-owned airline

Ukrainian National Airlines is expected to operate a fleet of Airbus jets, but may include some Antonov planes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday that the country’s government will create a new state-owned airline, Ukrainian National Airlines.

“This is our national airline, its creation will be officially launched today,” said Zelensky during an aviation forum.

The new airline intends to take advantage of Ukraine’s strategic position to create a regional hub.

According to the Interfax agency, Airbus would have been approached to supply the main aircraft of the new carrier. Initial plans would include four A330neo or A350s and 18 single-aisle aircraft, including six A220s.

However, the use of some Antonov aircraft is also being considered, a Ukrainian manufacturer that has suffered from the lack of new orders.

Air Ocean An-148 (Antonov)

Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov sought to reassure the country’s current airlines that the future state-owned company will not threaten them as there would be room for them all.

Ukraine currently has a few airlines, the largest of which is Ukraine International Airlines, which operates a fleet of Boeing, 777 and Embraer E190 and E195 jets.

This week, start-up Air Ocean began flights with two high-winged Antonov An-148 jets that served as the base for the An-178, an airlifter ordered by Peru and Ukraine.