Ryanair has announced that they will be the first airline to return Ukraine.
Hief chief executive Michael O’Leary said it would return to the eastern European country “when it is safe to do so” but warned that it may not be until winter.
This airline was formerly the largest airline serving Ukraine.
Ukrainian airspace was closed last week following the Russian invasion.
Speaking at a news conference in the City of London, Mr O’Leary said: “We want to see the Ukrainians succeed.”
He added that the best way to punish Russia is for the West to “push oil prices down”.
“We have canceled all Ukraine routes until the end of March,” he said.
“We do not believe it is possible to fly to Ukraine in the near future.”
The “first thing” the Russians did when they invaded was to “deactivate the flight systems” at major airports, he added.
We will be the first airline to return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.
“But I suspect it may not be until next winter that those technologies can be restored at Ukrainian airports, when hopefully the Ukrainians will see off the Russians and bring them back to where they came from.”
Mr O’Leary said bookings across all lines last Thursday and Friday were down “about 20pc” from a week earlier.
Over the weekend and on Monday, they were “down about 10pc.”.
He added: “I think it won’t have a significant impact on bookings as long as the war doesn’t escalate and spread elsewhere.”
The airline has seen a “significant increase” in bookings to and from Poland, as people fleeing Ukraine are “reuniting with family and friends” across Europe.
Mr O’Leary noted that many of the people who come to Ukraine have relatives “scattered across Europe”.
Ryanair will carry around 44 million passengers on UK flights this year.
Mr O’Leary predicts that this will lead to the airline overtaking easyJet to become the UK’s largest airline.
Ryanair is operating its largest summer schedule from three London airports, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted.
It is introducing 14 new routes from airports to destinations such as Naples, Madeira and Stockholm.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/oleary-says-ryanair-will-be-first-airline-to-return-to-ukraine-upping-number-of-polish-flights-in-response-to-refugee-crisis-41402573.html O’Leary says Ryanair will be the first airline to return to Ukraine, increasing the number of flights to Poland in response to the refugee crisis