Amidst the escalating challenges faced by Ukrainian airports, ACI EUROPE has amplified its concerns and offers its hand to address them. With Ukraine’s airports losing all commercial air traffic since February 2022 and bearing the scars of significant war-inflicted damage, the pressing need for recovery and maintaining their operational capabilities cannot be ignored.
Restoring damaged infrastructure and maintaining facilities, equipment, and relevant certifications are pivotal for ensuring Ukraine’s critical aviation infrastructure remains robust. Moreover, staff retention and continued training are imperative.
A significant prerequisite for the country’s revival is the restoration of its connectivity, thereby bolstering its economic restart when air traffic resumes. However, with the depletion of financial reserves, Ukrainian airports are now in dire need of substantial and immediate financial backing. Current estimates reveal that the costs for rebuilding the damaged airport infrastructure across Ukraine exceed €200 million, with annual operational readiness needs amounting to €52.8 million.
Meeting to Plan Ukrainian Airport Recovery
To address these urgent matters, ACI EUROPE hosted a meeting to review these concerns and pave a path for the long-term redevelopment of Ukrainian airports. This gathering united Ukrainian airports, high-level representatives from various Ukrainian ministries, the European Commission, EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency), Eurocontrol, the EIB (European Investment Bank), and the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) in Brussels.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, highlighted the significance of the meeting. He commented, “The meeting was an important first step to address the array of short and longer-term challenges Ukrainian airports face. Airlines such as airBaltic, Ryanair, and Wizz Air have already signaled their readiness to reconnect Ukraine with the rest of Europe as soon as is safely possible. But that requires Ukrainian airports to rebuild, recover, and fully maintain their operational capabilities. As the war drags on, this is no longer something they can do on their own. It is urgent that the Ukrainian Government now uses part of the financial aid provided by the EU for that purpose.
“For its part, ACI EUROPE will call on its 550-strong airport membership to consider offering incentives on user charges for any flight serving Ukraine to support the rebuilding of essential air connectivity. This will, of course, require flexibility and support from national regulators where needed. Looking at the longer term, the role of the EU and multilateral financial institutions will also be essential in supporting the development of Ukrainian airports in terms of capacity, digitalization, and sustainability, along with their effective integration into the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network.”
Infrastructure Readiness is a Priority
Sergiy Derkach, Deputy Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, also voiced his concerns. “In response to airspace closures due to the Russian invasion, our top priorities include infrastructure readiness and personnel proficiency. These steps are crucial for a swift resumption of civilian flights once security allows. This restoration will have a positive impact on the national economy, accessibility, refugee return, and post-war recovery efforts. We thank our European partners for their invaluable support in this endeavor.”
About ACI EUROPE
ACI EUROPE is the European Airports Council International (ACI) branch, the sole global professional association of airport operators. Representing over 500 airports across 55 countries, ACI EUROPE accounts for over 90% of European commercial air traffic.