SkyUp celebrates 2nd anniversary
On 21 May, Ukrainian low-cost SkyUp Airlines celebrates the second anniversary of its first flight. Across key indicators, the airline has doubled its progress even before the quarantine. The British newsletter The Anker Report ranked SkyUp Airlines among the most dynamic airlines in Europe by route network growth rate during 2018-2019. However, the pandemic became a serious challenge for the airline.
Passenger traffic doubled
In the second year* of flights, SkyUp completed 10,940 flights and carried 1,721,221 passengers, doubling its last year’s results which were 5,203 flights and 870,000 carried passengers, respectively.
The top five destinations for scheduled flights include Tbilisi, Barcelona, Batumi, Larnaca, Alicante. Charters most often flew to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Monastir, Antalya, and Tivat.
For now, regular passenger traffic is suspended until the end of the quarantine.
SkyUp began its second year with eight Boeing aircraft. In less than a year, the airline received three more aircraft. Today, we operate 11 medium-range Boeing aircraft as follows:
- two aircraft Boeing 737-700 NG with 149 seats;
- six aircraft Boeing 737-800 NG with 189 seats;
- three aircraft Boeing 737-900 ER with 215 seats.
The hub map of the aircraft has also expanded. The hub in Boryspil and the base in Kharkiv, opened in the first year of operation, were added with bases in Lviv and Zaporizhzhia.
Cabin crew began to form in the regions
89 commanders, 108 co-pilots and 310 cabin crew are employed at SkyUp. Part of the flight crew was trained under the programme of employment and training of cadets. To undergo training at training centres in Kyiv this year, we began to recruit cabin crew from Lviv and Kharkiv.
During quarantine, flight crews can only work on irregular commercial special flights and cargo flights, of which nearly 250 were already operated.
All employees together, the airline’s team has grown from more than 450 to more than 800 specialists over the year. Retention of employees is now one of the key tasks, although such a prolonged inability to work in full force eventually forced the company to reduce its team in May. Having overcome the crisis and returning to the normal work schedule, we plan to return to the team everyone who will be ready.
Flight map expanded
During the year, the flight programme expanded from 31 to 45 scheduled flight destinations and from 15 to 74 charter destinations both domestic and international. By the growth rate of the route network, the airline is already on the list of the most dynamic airlines in Europe. Unfortunately, due to the introduction of quarantine, the launch of more than 20 scheduled destinations has been postponed.
The dynamic development of the route network is one of the steps towards the implementation of the airline’s mission to open the world to Ukrainians and to open Ukraine to the world.
SkyUp defended its #праволітати (right to fly)
The global pandemic has become not the only challenge for the airline. In May 2019, the court tried to ban the airline from operating flights. SkyUp case was widely publicised and, as a result of the appeal hearing, the unlawful decision was reversed, and the judge who decided to revoke the airline’s license was fired.
We performed evacuation and special flights, because it is important to help those in need
When it comes to how to evacuate our fellow nationals, the airline completed two evacuation flights commissioned by the state, to Wuhan in February and to Venice in March.
After the border was closed, the airline organised special flights to give Ukrainians who didn’t manage to come back the opportunity to return home. In March-May, SkyUp operated about 150 non-scheduled commercial special flights, with which more than 26,000 people returned to their homes.
Opened up new opportunities during the crisis
During quarantine, SkyUp launched a new service — cargo transportation. In March, the airline received licenses and permits from the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine for transportation of a wide range of cargo and goods, including dangerous, to any country in the world.
For these purposes, the airline reconfigured nine aircraft from its fleet and, since April, has already completed nearly 100 flights, transporting mainly medical supplies. Once the borders have been opened, cargo traffic will remain an integral part of the company’s activities.
To improve the quality of passenger service at the Boryspil airport, SkyUp is preparing to launch its own handling department. A team of 83 specialists will develop this service. We are also continuing to improve passenger services. In particular, passenger can choose to:
- add food service when booking a ticket;
- register a pet for a joint trip;
- buy a ticket by installments;
- use online check-in for international flights upon completion its current testing for passengers of domestic flights.
“Two years of rapid growth have shown the effectiveness of the chosen development business model. With tireless work, we made sure that strong market participants began to take us on an equal footing”, said Yevhen Khaynatsky, CEO of SkyUp Airlines. “A strong team, flexibility, ability to perceive challenges as new opportunities have proved that we’re able to overcome the most serious challenges. We look forward to opening borders to continue to make air travel affordable and comfortable for Ukrainians”, he added.
*A year is understood to mean the period from 21 May 2019 to 20 May 2020, excluding special flights that were operated after the ban on passenger air transportation was introduced on 17 March 2020.