Ukraine has allocated USD 592m to guarantee the continuation of flights to and from the country, as fears of flying over its airspace led some airlines to scrap or divert flights as tensions between the west and the Kremlin mount over a possible Russian invasion, writes The Guardian.
The prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said the funds “were allocated to ensure flight safety in Ukraine for insurance and leasing companies” and would “stabilise the situation on the market of passenger air transportation and will guarantee the return to Ukraine of our citizens who are currently abroad”.
The Dutch carrier KLM had earlier cancelled flights to Ukraine after the Netherlands government issued a travel warning over the risks of flying in the region, while Germany’s Lufthansa said it was considering suspending air traffic.
A passenger plane operated by the Ukrainian charter airline SkyUp, which was on its way to Kyiv from Madeira in Portugal, was meanwhile diverted on Saturday to the Moldovan capital, Chișinău, after the plane’s Irish owner said it was banning flights in Ukrainian airspace.
Ukraine’s state air traffic service on Sunday advised airlines to avoid flying over the open waters of the Black Sea until Saturday because of Russian naval exercises involving more than 30 Russian ships near the Crimea peninsula. But an adviser to the president’s chief of staff said there was “no point” in further closing the skies and speaking after KLM’s suspension said it “somewhat resembles a kind of partial blockade”.