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7/23/2004: Air Ukraine Has AOC Withdrawn

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DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the state-owned Ukrainian flag-carrier Air Ukraine (6U) had its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) withdrawn in 2004.

The airline was created in 1992 out of Aeroflot’s (SU) Kyiv operation, following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Flights commenced at Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport (KBP) with a fleet of Russian-built airliners.

Air_Ukraine_Tupolev_Tu-154B-2_Maiwald.jpAir Ukraine Tupolev TU-154B-2 (UR-85460). Photo: Torsten Maiwald (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Attempted Merger

In 2001, the Ukrainian government ordered 6U and its rivals to merge. The carrier had suffered years of poor financial performance. Operations had significantly shrunk, leaving it with just five aircraft in service, regularly seized due to non-payment of debts.

Meanwhile, Ukraine International (PS) and AeroSvit Airlines (VV) were in a much stronger position and already co-operated in several areas, carrying around 25% of the country’s 1.2 million passengers each year. Both had previously supported 6U and agreed that one strong national carrier would be in the country’s best interest.

But in December 2002, Air Ukraine was declared bankrupt. Unwilling to assume the carrier’s immense debts, merger plans with the country’s other airlines fell through.

AW_Alberto-Cucini-2-1024x682.jpgUkraine International Boeing 737-900 (UR-PSJ). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.

Ukraine’s Other Airlines

Despite once being Ukraine’s largest airline, VV filed for bankruptcy on December 29, 2012. It had hoped that a restructuring would allow it to continue operations. These plans fell through, and the airline ceased operations in February 2013.

PS is now Ukraine’s largest airline and flag carrier. The Russian invasion of the country and the subsequent airspace closure have led to the indefinite suspension of operations.

However, it has managed to keep one of its Boeing 737-900s (UR-PSL) flying. The jet now carries out charter flights for Polish tour operator ITAKA from Katowice (KTW), Warsaw (WAW), Rzezow (RZE) and Krakow (KRK).

Featured Image: Many of the airline’s initial aircraft were inherited from Aeroflot. Two Tupolev TU-154s are seen here in a hybrid 6U/SU livery. Photo: RuthASCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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