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Being among the first to fly to Ukraine can be a bonus and a PR opportunity for many businesses — Chief Security Officer of SkyUp Airlines

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 min

Oleksandr Kubrakov, Minister of Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development, has announced that Ukraine is initiating negotiations with the US and Europe to resume air travel. The process involves addressing numerous security issues, both domestically and in coordination with foreign organizations and companies. Despite the complexities, there is a possibility of resuming flights to and from Ukraine, pending necessary agreements.

Oleksandr Shafiyev, Chief Security Officer of SkyUp Airlines, shared insights on Hromadske Radio, emphasizing the intricacies involved in resuming air travel. He highlighted the need for coordination not only within Ukraine but also with external partners, aviation administrations, aircraft owners, insurance companies, and internal safety assessments within airlines.

Shafiyev dismissed the notion that the location of airports in western Ukraine could lead to earlier openings, emphasizing that security considerations are multi-faceted. The proximity to the western border does not guarantee immunity from potential threats such as Russian missiles and drones.

«I don’t see any difference in the airport’s location in terms of its security because we understand that, unfortunately, Russia has the capacity to strike not only airports located in eastern Ukraine or its central part but also western airports. Therefore, it is impossible to claim that the security of some airports is ensured solely by their geographical location», — explains SkyUp Airlines’ Chief Security Officer.

The Chief Security Officer outlined the key components of a security document, including approvals from aviation administrations of different countries, safe aircraft servicing at airports, airspace usability, permits from aircraft owners, and approval from insurance companies monitoring global security situations.

While there are precedents of operating flights from regions under threat, it remains a rare phenomenon. Shafiyev cited examples, including SkyUp Airlines’ experience in evacuating citizens from challenging areas. However, he stressed the need for thorough consideration, agreements, and guarantees from all parties involved.

«There are indeed such examples, but this is not a widespread phenomenon. Our airline has experience in evacuating Ukrainian citizens, not only from Sudan but also from other challenging regions. This is a very complex matter that must be ensured, agreed upon, and guaranteed by all parties. It requires careful consideration, and only then, in some cases, it becomes possible to operate such a flight», — says SkyUp Airlines’ Chief Security Officer.

Despite the challenges, Shafiyev expressed optimism about the desire of many airlines to resume operations in Ukraine, given the country’s high information profile. Being among the first to fly to Ukraine could serve as a significant promotional opportunity and a PR boost for airlines. Shafiyev anticipated that once security concerns are addressed, several companies might decide to resume flights to Ukraine, attracting passengers eager to utilize their services.

«I believe that if the security component is finalized, many companies will decide to resume flights to Ukraine. It will be a powerful promotional opportunity. Ukraine currently holds a fairly high level of visibility, and being among the first to resume flights to Ukraine will serve as a significant bonus and public relations campaign for many companies. Therefore, from my perspective, I genuinely hope that SkyUp will be the first company to restart flights to Ukraine.

I am confident that people want to and will resume flying. We operate a substantial number of flights from Chisinau and Rzeszow, as these locations are closest to Ukraine. A significant portion of passengers on these flights are Ukrainians, more than half. This indicates a clear demand for flights», — says Shafiev.

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