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  • Fueled by China and Vietnam, Exports Jump in Q1
  • Japan’s JCB Credit Card Giant Comes to Ukraine
  • Concorde Plans 10 IPOs
  • UIA Survives by Shifting to Charter Flights

 

Ukraine’s foreign trade has increased by 12% during the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same January-March period last year. Exports were up by 12% to $13.75 billion. Imports were up by 12% to $15.1 billion. Overall trade totaled $28.8 billion. “The Ukrainian economy is recovering,” Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka wrote on Facebook.  “Good news – export is growing.”

Exports to China continue to grow at a crazy rate” – up 55% yoy, Kachka wrote. Other increases for the first quarter of 2021 were: EU +18% and Poland +16%. With regards to Turkey, Ukraine registered a $260 million trade surplus. Kachka wrote: “The main driving force of exports is ore and ferrous metals, for which both prices and demand are rising.  This trend will continue.”

Thanks to fast-growing exports to China and Vietnam last year, Ukraine slashed its trade deficit last year by 93%, to $255 million in 2020, from $3.4 billion in 2019, Kachka said when speaking at the Ukraine’s International Trade Council. He said: “The most important indicators are the phenomenal growth of exports of Ukrainian products to Vietnam and China – by 93% and 98%, respectively.” Last year, 14.5% of Ukraine’s exports went to China, compared to 5.5% for Russia, reports the State Statistics Service.

With food accounting for most of Ukraine’s exports to China, Ukraine is negotiating to open China to 15 new farm products from Ukraine, Vladyslava Magaletskaya, Ukraine’s Food Safety and Consumer Protection Service, wrote on Facebook after meeting with China’s Ambassador Fan Xiangzhong. The list includes: honey, cherries, apple, peas, fish products, wheat, barley and animal feed.


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In the decade since the first container train traveled from China to Europe, the annual flow has increased from 17 trains in 2011, to 10,000 last year, reported World Railways, a Moscow-based news site. With most of the rail traffic crossing Russia, trains now roll from 60 Chinese cities to Europe. In January 2021, 1,165 freight trains traveled from China to Europe, a 66% yoy jump. In the nine months since the start of dedicated rail service between China and Ukraine, 28 trains have arrived in Kyiv.

A “Chinese official delegation” to Russia-controlled Crimea in early March turned out to be composed of three Chinese traders who have worked for many years in Moscow’s wholesale markets, reported Meduza, the Russian-language news site based in Latvia. Vadim Rabinovich, a pro-Russia Ukrainian Rada member, wrote on Facebook that the visit could be a “countermove” by Beijing in response to Ukraine’s nationalization of Motor Sich. Chinese investors in the aircraft engine factory are fighting the nationalization, with muted support from Beijing.

JCB, Japan’s largest credit card company, is entering the Ukrainian market.  It will be the fifth international card payment system in Ukraine with a non-resident payment organization, reported the National Bank of Ukraine. The 50-year-old Tokyo-based company has 5,000 employees and 130 million cardholders in 23 countries. Around the world, JCB has alliances with Discover Network in the US, UnionPay in China, RuPay in India and American Express in Canada.

Two Czech investment bankers prominent in Ukraine – Tomasz Fiala and Ivan Svitek – received permission from the National Bank of Ukraine to acquire UNEX bank. Fiala, through Dragon Capital companies, is buying 75%. Svitek, former CEO of Alfa-Bank Group in Ukraine, is buying 25%. The Central Bank ranks UNEX Bank as the 63rd largest of Ukraine’s 73 banks, with total assets of $32 million.

To promote ‘green’ energy efficient commercial real estate, the EBRD is lending Dragon Capital $12.5 million for construction on Grand Business Center and two warehouses, one in Brovary and one in Kharkiv. Last July, Grand Business Center became Kyiv’s first office building to receive a sustainability certificate under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM, an internationally recognized environmental rating system. A 15-story Class A office center, with 9,000 square meters of leasable space, Grand Business stands at Vasylkivska 98, across from the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral. By the end of this year, Dragon intends to have eight buildings in Ukraine certified by BREEAM, Dragon reports. The two warehouses – Diana Lux Logistic in Kyiv and Terminal Kharkiv – have a combined rental area of 26,000 square meters.

The first large scale privatizations of public enterprises are to take place this summer, Prime Minister Shmygal announced on Telegram. After meeting with Dmytro Sennychenko, the Head of the State Property Fund, Shmygal wrote that top candidates for auction are: Kyiv’s President Hotel, Kyiv’s First Bolshevik Machine-Building Plant, and the United Mining and Chemical Company.

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Ukraine, business expectations have moved into the positive territory of the Central Bank’s monthly survey. The mood inched up to 51.4 points, the first time since February 2020 that the index of business prospects have crossed the 50-point equilibrium, reported the National Bank of Ukraine. The survey of 269 companies was taken March 3-24, before the latest imposition of quarantine restrictions.

Concorde Capital plans to bring 10 Ukrainian companies to initial public offerings over the next two years, Concorde CEO Ihor Mazepa said recently at the IPO presentation of Veres Rivne People’s {Football] Club. Citing changes in Ukraine’s financial markets, the Concorde founder said: “What I have seen for the last six or nine months: there has been such a huge trend that a class, a huge group of investors has begun to form in the country.“ He added: “I give myself, roughly speaking, two years to bring a good 10 companies to an IPO.”

UIA radically switched its passenger flow – from scheduled flights to charter flights – and managed to end the first quarter with the passenger numbers down by only one third compared to the first quarter of last year. Ukraine International Airlines carried only 121,047 passengers on regular flights, only 13% the number of Q1 2020. By contrast, its charter passengers nearly tripled, to 201,685. During the first quarter, UIA says it returned $6.7 million to about 30,000 passengers for cancelled flights. During the full, first year of the pandemic, the airline says it has returned $33 million to passengers.

In a boost for urban garages, the Cabinet of Ministers has banned painting parking spaces on sidewalks. The government also passed rules to ease parking payments, through street terminals and through ATM machines.

 

 

  • Kyiv Imposes Tough Corona Crackdown
  • Revival of the IMF Deal Still Faraway
  • US, IMF Support Depend on Free Market Reforms
  • Ukrainians Look West

 

The Kyiv City Administration, announced by Mayor Klitschko, imposed yesterday the toughest coronavirus lockdown in one year. The Metro, city buses and trams will carry only ‘critical workers’ with special passes. Employers are asked to move as many workers to remote work as possible. All schools and kindergartens will close for two weeks. Since last Wednesday all outdoor food markets are closed.  Today the Rada may pass a 10:00 pm curfew for Kyiv, reported Segodnya.

Ukraine’s capital tops the nation’s 11 red zone regions for new infections, with about 1,000 new cases reported a day. Kyiv hospital occupancy levels are around 85%. Klitschko said: “We have lines of ambulances in front of hospitals. We have no choice. Otherwise, there will be hundreds of deaths every day.” Nationwide, the Health Ministry reported 407 coronavirus deaths last Wednesday, a record for the year-long pandemic.

To get out of the pandemic, Ukraine needs to vaccinate 70% of its population, create herd immunity, and create a system of “COVID-19 vaccine passports,” President Zelenskiy said. The next day, his Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Ukraina 24 TV: “If there is an appropriate amount of vaccines, we will be able to vaccinate up to 5 million people a month in a very quiet mode.” By the end of May, Ukraine is to receive 1.7 million doses – enough to vaccinate 3% of Ukraine’s adults. Of the 500,000 vaccines received five weeks ago, the Health Ministry has used only 212,900.

Renewal of Ukraine’s $5 billion IMF agreement depends on “a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved,” Goesta Ljungman, the IMF’s resident representative, said in a lengthy interview with Interfax-Ukraine. “At this stage, it is not possible to make any predictions about when the review can be completed. This depends on how quickly there is progress on outstanding issues,” he said, referring to the Stand-By Arrangement that has been largely dormant since $2.1 billion was disbursed last June 11.

The IMF checklist includes: protecting the National Bank of Ukraine from political pressure; strengthening the rule of law by maintaining the EU-standard anti-corruption institutions put in place; returning the fiscal deficit “to pre-pandemic levels;” building a fully functioning household gas market without price controls; and not going down the path of tax amnesties.

Just as the interview was posted, the Rada passed on first reading a tax amnesty. Valid for one year – from this July through July 1, 2022 – the amnesty would clear tax bills from assets voluntarily declared. The one-time tax schedule would be: 5% on declared assets inside Ukraine; 9% on assets located abroad; and 2.5% on Ukrainian government bonds.

Facing $6 billion in external borrowing that are needed this year, Ukraine is “already uncomfortable” without the $3 billion in remaining IMF tranches, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said in a lengthy interview with LIGA. “We have no opportunity to receive income from another source,” he says. “The IMF program is our baseline scenario.” He said talks would go better with IMF if they were face to face, not through video calls.

Separately, Marchenko hopes to reach an IMF staff level agreement soon, he told reporters at a press conference. Anti-corruption policy and judicial reform remained outstanding issues in the talks, he said.

US and IMF support for Ukraine depend on the Zelenskiy Administration taking concrete steps to reform the court system and protect Western-designed anti-corruption institutions, George Kent, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told VOA last week. Explicitly tying aid to free market changes, he said: “The expectations of Ukrainians and Americans are clear. Reform efforts need to continue and deepen. The justice sector is absolutely essential.” He added: “The U.S. as a partner is here to be supportive. But to be very clear, any legislation that rolls back the independence of organizations, whether it’s the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, NABU, or the central bank, does not help Ukraine and that will make it very difficult for international partners, whether it’s the IMF or the United States, to continue to be as supportive of efforts when they are not leading to reform the change that Ukraine needs.”

Speaking before Zelenskiy removed Constitutional Court Chairman Oleksandr Tupytskiy and Judge Oleksandr Kasminin for “threatening Ukraine’s independence and national security,” Kent said: “How Ukrainian authorities get out of the constitutional crisis created by the Constitutional Court undermining reversing changes that were made is a real challenge for Ukrainians.”

Ukraine has expanded its 5-year-old list of Russian goods banned for import, the Cabinet of Ministers reported. The new list includes 25 largely lowtech items such as toilet paper, hand towels, new spring, boxes, packing bags and cosmetic wipes. Of importance to Ukraine’s railroad sector, train wheels and axles are banned. Last year, the government approved measures aimed at banning $650 million worth of imports from Russia.

Ukrainians support for joining the EU has grown to 59% across the nation, according to a new Razumkov Center poll. Support for EU integration hits 76% of those aged 18 to 29, while it fades to 44% of people over 60. If there is a referendum on EU accession, the ‘yes’ vote rises to 80% of those who would definitely vote. Among opponents, about half say they would not bother to vote. Regionally, support for EU accession ranges from 84% in Western Ukraine, to the South, where opinion is split – 41.5% for and 42% against.

Oschadbank, Ukraine’s second largest bank, plans to appeal Tuesday’s decision by the Paris Court of Appeal that it lacks jurisdiction to arbitrate the 2014 seizure by Russia’s Sberbank of Oschadbank’s assets in Crimea. State-owned Oschadbank seeks $1.3 billion in compensation.

 

 

  • Rada Unlocks Big Privatizations
  • Six State Companies Readied for Auction
  • 21% of Ukraine’s Restaurants Closed Last Year
  • McDonald’s Invests $42 Million to Create 4,600 Jobs
  • Inside Ukraine, E-Passports Equal Paper Passports

 

The Rada passed a bill to resume privatization of large state owned corporations – one year after sales were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The State Property Fund hopes to raise as much as $430 million this year by selling six large state companies, including Kyiv’s President Hotel, Kyiv Bolshevik Plant, the Odesa Portside Plant and United Mining and Chemical Company. Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the Fund, wrote on Facebook: “The Fund will bring the budget, through transparent privatization auctions in 2021, 4 times more than last year!” Included in the auction earnings goal is $110 million from small-scale privatizations. So far this year, $35 million has been raised.

Addressing the aftertaste of corrupt privatizations of the 1990s, Sennychenko wrote: “The speculation that someone wants to buy up state property cheaply will not work! Absolutely transparent privatization auctions with offers for any wallet demonstrate only a fair price of the asset. If earlier the term ‘privatization’ had mostly negative connotations, now auctions, where more than 20 participants are stubbornly competing for victory, is a common practice.”

Private investment will breathe economic life into dead state assets, Economy Minister Ihor Petrashko wrote on the Ministry website. He said: “Removing restrictions on the sale of large state-owned enterprises will not only fill the state budget, but also attract large amounts of private investment in the development of these companies and the economy of Ukraine.”

Ukraine loses $6 billion a year to corrupt managers of state companies, Mikheil Saakashvili, Chair of the National Reform Council, estimated in his Kyiv Post column. Ukraine has 3,500 state companies – 63 times more than neighboring Poland and 76 times more than Sweden. To prepare a state-owned company for sale, the State Property Fund needs 11 months to prepare 70 documents. To streamline the process, Saakashvili’s Office of Simple Solutions and Results and the Property Fund has submitted legislation to the Rada to cut the red tape.

Online bidding by five companies for a state-owned alcohol distillery increased the price five times, to $3.9 million, reported the State Property Fund. The sale of the distillery in Lutsk through ProZorro.sale is part of a 2-year process to privatize Ukrspirt, the former state monopoly alcohol producer. By the time that all 78 Ukrspirt properties are sold, the Fund expects to raise $35 million for the State Budget.

All subsoil permits – for mining and gas and oil – are being checked retrospectively to 1994, said Roman Opimakh, Director of the State Service of Geology and Subsoil, in a speech. Looking for no-bid and ‘sleeper’ permits, the agency plans to check this year approximately one third of the 2,955 permits. A sleeper license is typically a closed-door, deeply undervalued deal where an investor takes out a permit to prevent a competitor from developing a deposit. Last year, the agency checked 15% of the permits, suspending 162 and submitting 280 for cancellation. Of the nearly 3,000 permits, half are in the hands of state companies or are in Russia-controlled areas. The Economy Ministry has estimated that 48% of subsoil production – or $4.5 billion – is “gray” – lightly taxed or untaxed.

The crackdown fulfills a March 19 decision by the National Security and Defense Council. In a first step, the Council seized unused 19 oil and gas no-bid permits obtained in 2012-2013 by East Europe Petroleum, a company controlled by Eduard Stavytsky, a former Yanukovych-era minister. Now a fugitive, Stavytsky reportedly in Israel living under the name of Nathan Rosenberg.

Gas stations across Ukraine will be inspected this year in a nationwide crackdown on illegal gas stations, Oleskiy Chernyshov, the Community and Territorial Development Minister, told Ukraine’s Oil and Gas Association. Nelia Pryvalova, President of the Association, has estimated that the state budgets loose’ s up $500 million a year in taxes. Seeking to expose illegal competitors, the Association maintains an interactive map with locations and photos of 103 clandestine gas stations around the country.

Dollar-denominated bonds accounted for almost half of the $317 million in equivalent sold last week at the Finance Ministry’s weekly auction. The auction nearly covers repayment of $325 million scheduled last week. With yields unchanged, investors bought $49.6 million of 1-year bonds at 3.7%, and $106.8 million of 2-year bonds at 3.9%, the Ministry has reported on Facebook.

For hryvnia bonds, the Ministry pushed down yields on 3-months bonds by 35 basis points, to 7.98%, and on 1-year bonds by one basis point, to 10.74%. To sell $34.6 million worth of 2-year bonds, the Ministry raised the yield by 10 basis points, to 11.8%, according to the Ministry’s website. In general, the weighted average rate at the auctions fell to 10.67%, from 11.64% one week ago. Two weeks ago, the Ministry sold the equivalent of $232 million, reports ICU.

The number of Ukraine’s restaurants and cafes operating has decreased by 21% last year, to 14,700, from 18,600, said Olha Nasonova, the Director of Restaurants of Ukraine analytical center, (Interfax-Ukraine). Repeated lockdowns and the absence of foreign tourists has cut turnover by 30%. The current lockdown will have a minimal impact because most restaurants have adapted to the restrictions, and some have closed. Looking forward, she said: “Many interesting locations have become available. Plus, rental levels have decreased. The most popular hybrid formats are shops-cafes, shops-bars.”

McDonald’s Ukraine plans to invest $42 million this year, creating 4,600 new jobs and opening restaurants in four new cities – Ivano-Frankivsk, Bila Tserkva, Lutsk, and Khmelnytskyi – Yuliya Badritdinova, McDonald’s Managing Director, told reporters. The new jobs will be split between 1,500 at new restaurants and 3,100 at supplier companies. In addition to new cities, McDonald’s plans openings in Ukraine’s five most populous cities; Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa. Looking to 2022, the chain plans to open in Chernivtsi, Kropyvnytskyi, Mariupol, and Uzhgorod.

Last year, McDonalds invested $25 million, opening five new restaurants, to bring the total number of stores to 98 in 21 Ukrainian cities. While the company maintained its restaurant payroll of 10,000, the number of customers decreased by 20% yoy and sales fell by almost 4% yoy, Badritdinova said at a press conference in Kyiv.

The Rada passed a law equating digital ‘e-passports’ with conventional paper passports for use inside Ukraine. Part of the government’s ‘state in a smartphone’ program, e-passports are displayed by the increasingly popular Diya app. The passports are issued with a unique electronic identifier, such as a QR code or bar code. “All e-passports can be used within Ukraine’s borders for their holders’ identification, confirmation of citizenship and provision of government and other services,” reported UNIAN. The law goes into effect August 23, 2021. So far, Ukraine’s e-passports are not accepted for foreign travel.

 

 

  • Start the Bulldozers: Ukraine’s Largest Road Building Season Kicks Off
  • EBRD, USAID Work to Cut Corruption
  • Foreigners to Buy Highway Bonds?

 

The summer construction season has started, with work now underway on 215 roads and bridges across the country, Ukravtodor, the state highway agency, reports on Facebook. “The total length of facilities on which work has begun is 1,960 km,” the agency says. “The current plan for 2021 provides for the construction, reconstruction, overhaul and current average repair of 4,500 km and 150 bridges.” Last year saw the rebuilding of 3,900 km of national roads and 2,000 km of local roads. Known as ‘Big Construction’ the multi-billion-dollar program is a centerpiece of the Zelenskiy administration.

With the EBRD loaning €450 million for the renovation of the southern half of the Kyiv-Odesa highway and the Lviv northern bypass, the multilateral bank and Ukravtodor are implementing EU-standard anti-corruption standards, Ukravtodor Chairman Oleksandr Kubrakov said during a recent meeting with Matteo Patrone, the EBRD’s regional director. “Together with the EBRD we plan a number of systemic reforms in the industry: from improving the procurement process to taking into account modern safety and environmental requirements,” Kubrakov said. “Already in 2021 Ukravtodor will work out world practices of road project management in its own work.”

To cut corruption, all tender documents and tenders are to go online, Kubrakov writes on Facebook. Other EU-standard moves include: an open register of asphalt plants; a calculator for evaluating the experience of contractor; use of internationally recognized contracts; and using the World Bank-approved HDM-4 software to evaluating the engineering and economic viability of road projects. The project is supported by the USAID’s TAPAS program, or Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services.

With Big Construction needing at least $1 billion in additional funding this year, one goal of the EBRD-Ukravtodor partnership is to create by this summer a joint stock company within Ukravtodor capable of generating capital by issuing infrastructure bonds. With international demand strong for Ukraine hryvnia bonds, planners believe foreign demand could extend beyond paying for international highways to pay for regional roads. Last year, the Cabinet of Ministers extended $840 million in state guarantees to Ukravtodor. The agency sold $500 million worth of bonds to three state banks – Ukreximbank, Ukrgasbank and Oschadbank.

Work is to start this summer on the first two sections of the 150 km Kyiv Ring Road, Ukravtodor reports on Facebook. Of the six sections planned, the two priority sections add up to 43 km and will designed to link three highways west and south of Kyiv – the M-07 Kyiv-Kovel, the M-06 Kyiv-Chop and the M-05 Kyiv-Odesa. By intercepting traffic 25-30 km west of Kyiv’s current circle road, planners hope to cut the flow of trucks into Kyiv. Ukravtodor writes: “In 4 years, we have the opportunity to complete the [Ring Road] completely and unload the capital from transport, and for transit transport we will create comfortable conditions of travel by our country.”

A public-private partnership proposal is being prepared for the 280 km stretch of the E-40/M-10 from Rivne to the border with Poland, at Krakovets, Lviv region. The goal is to hold a tender next year to rebuild the highway. This work should cut the drive time to 2.5 hours, from four hours today. Ukravtodor and construction giant Avtomagistral-Pivden signed a memorandum to prepare the proposal. Ukravtodor’s Kubrakov wrote on Telegram: “It should be a modern European road that will connect the capital of Ukraine with major European cities.”

Ukravtodor is protesting an arbitration decision ordering it to return €10.3 million to a Chinese company, Sinohydro, for ending a contract to build the northern bypass of Zhytomyr on the M-06. Six months ago, Ukravtodor ended the contract, charging that the Chinese company completed 49% of the project, far short of the 80% due at the time. Ukravtodor complained on Facebook that Mahadev Gopinat, the arbitrator for International Association of Consulting Engineers, lives in South Africa and never visited the Zhytomyr project.

As Ukraine embarks on a new motoring era, the country imports about 500,000 cars annually, reports the National Reform Council. To ease the process and cut corruption, this presidential office proposing importing through the Diya app. The new system would cut import costs by one third and cut budget losses, currently $300-400 million.

Ukraine plans to attract investment to create “a belt of success” in government-controlled Luhansk and Donetsk, Oleskiy Reznikov, minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, tells Dom TV Channel. In addition to the multilateral aid flowing into the area, he cited talks with Turkish and Polish companies interested investing in Kyiv-controlled Donbas. Last week, in a nationwide survey of startups by the online database YouControl, Luhansk fared the worst, with only 50 new businesses registered last year, compared to 54,000 across Ukraine.

Work has started rebuilding the main north-south road in Luhansk. The P-66 runs from Demyno-Oleksandrivka, the northern border checkpoint with Russia, 240 km south to the frontline area, near Lysychansk. Partly due to old bridges, some dating back to the 1950s, the average speed on the road is 50 km/hour.

Passenger travel was down almost 50% in January-February, compared to the same pre-pandemic period last year, reports the State Statistics Service. The drops: rail – down 49%, to 11.2 million passengers; transport companies down 41%, to 397 million; motor transport down 42%, to 167 million passengers; and airlines down to 600,000, one third the level of last winter. Last year, overall passenger travel in Ukraine dropped by 54% yoy, to 49.4 billion passenger-kilometers. With coronavirus hospitalizations increasing, authorities in Kyiv and Lviv are threatening to close municipal mass transit systems.

A $2 billion project to build the world’s largest solar plant around Chornobyl seems to have been largely dreamed up to pump of the stock of the US company, Energokon, according to analysts interviewed by Radio Free Europe in a 2,500-word investigative report. The 3-gigawatt plant also was designed to export hydrogen and to create a 5G mobile network. The project was never announced in Ukraine, appears to have no official Ukrainian support, and is largely notably for creating excitement among penny stock traders.

 

 

  • Airlines Start Summer Schedules, Reconnecting Ukraine with the World
  • With EU Closed to Ukrainian Tourism, Egypt and Turkey See Boom
  • Corona Hospitalizations Climb to Record Levels

 

Airlines have started their summer flight schedules last week. Bolstered by increasing acceptance of negative PCR coronavirus tests for international travel. Air links that were suspended one year ago are being renewed to Ukraine.

 

Highlights:

Ukraine International Airlines this week resumes flights between Kyiv Boryspil and 19 cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Baku, Cairo, Chisinau, Dubai, Geneva, Istanbul, Larnaca, London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Milan, Munich, Paris, Prague, Vilnius, Tel Aviv, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. By the end of April, UIA plans to restore 64% of its pre-pandemic network, flying 43 international and seven domestic routes. Kyiv-Tel Aviv will be daily service and Odesa-Tel Aviv flights twice a week.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, has restarted service this week from Ukraine to 18 European cities. From Kyiv Boryspil, Ryanair will fly to Berlin, Bergamo, London, Rome, Sofia, Vienna, Vilnius, Bergamo, and to six Polish cities: Gdansk, Krakow, Katowice, Poznan, Wroclaw and Warsaw. From Odesa, Ryanair will fly to Berlin, Rome and Gdansk; and from Lviv to Bergamo and Rome. In May-July, Ryanair will relaunch 37 other routes from Ukraine, including from Kherson and Kharkiv, according to Avianews. On July 3, Ryanair launches two new routes from Ukraine: Kyiv-Cologne and Odesa-Barcelona. By mid-summer, Ryanair plans to be flying 55 routes from Ukraine. From early July, Ryanair will commence flying between Odesa and Corfu and Kyiv and Crete.

Lufthansa will increase it’s Frankfurt-Kyiv Borsypil frequencies by 50% this week, to twice a day. Last week, Lufthansa restored its Munich-Kyiv flight, to five regular services a week. Next month, Lufthansa will inaugurate its Lviv-Frankfurt route, with four flights a week. In the Lufthansa Group, Austrian Airlines is restoring its flights from regional centers including Vienna-Lviv and is increasing Vienna-Kyiv service to daily flights. Last week, SWISS expanded Zurich-Kyiv flights, with the plan to fly by June 2021.

“The Lufthansa Group believes in the early recovery of the Ukrainian market,” said Rene Koinzach, Lufthansa Group’s regional general director. “Our customers want to travel again, as they did before the crisis. We see an increase in demand amongst travelers from other continents who want to fly through our hub airports to Ukraine.”

Cyprus reopened to tourists from Ukraine as of Thursday. From a ‘red zone’ such Kyiv, all passengers aged 12 or over must take PCR tests within 72 hours of flying and again on arrival. At Larnaca airport, the analysis costs €30 euros. At Paphos airport, €32 euros. Airlines that fly to Cyprus from Ukraine includee: Ryanair, SkyUp, UIA and Wizz Air.

Wizz Air will recommence services from Kyiv Sikorsky to Bologna and Catania, and from Lviv to Verona and Catania. Last week, it started regular flights from Zaporizhia to Milan Malpensa and to Katowice, Poland.

SkyUp starts services this week from Kyiv Borsypil to Belgrade, Berlin, Gdansk, Lodz, Memmingen, and Stuttgart. In April and May, SkyUp will expand its schedule with flights from Kyiv to Copenhagen; Düsseldorf; Hamburg; Hannover, Katowice and Nuremberg. From Lviv, regular flights will commence by the end of May to: Bergamo, Lodz, Odesa, Tbilisi, Tirana and Tivat. From Odesa, SkyUp will have regular services to Kharkiv, Lviv, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Zaporizhia.

AirBaltic resumed Riga-Kyiv Boryspil flights last week. This month, it plans to restore the Riga-Odesa service, followed by Riga-Lviv.

Azerbaijan’s discount airline Buta Airways will resumes flights from Baku to Kyiv Sikorsky on Thursday.

Czech Airlines resumes flights from Prague to Odesa on Saturday.

Bees Airlines, Ukraine’s new discount airline, plans to expand its fleet to six Boeing 737s over the next year. In the past two weeks, Bees started flying from Lviv and Kyiv Sikorsky to Egyptian beach resorts. Ukraine’s State Aviation Service has authorized Bees to flight 31 routes out of Ukraine – 15 regular and 16 charter.

Turkish Airlines’ economy unit AnadoluJet starts flying to Ukraine tomorrow with an Ankara-Kyiv Boryspil flight. At the end of April, AnadoluJet starts flying from Kyiv and from Odesa to Dalaman, on Turkey’s southwest coast.

With the EU blocked for most Ukrainian tourists, Egypt and Turkey are the huge beneficiaries, according to Boryspil’s flight schedule for April, reported Avianews.com. The ranking of flights listed for April is: Sharm el-Sheikh – 305 flights; Hurghada, Egypt – 194; Antalya, Turkey – 157; Istanbul – 130; Dubai – 102; Tel Aviv – 98; Amsterdam – 88; Minsk – 60; Prague – 60; and Tbilisi – 58. Boryspil’s schedule for April shows that air carriers plan to fly on more than 50 international routes.

A record number of charter flights are scheduled to fly from Ukraine to Turkey in early June, Turprofi, the tourism professional news site reported, citing research of Ukrainian Association of Travel Agencies. For the week of June 7-13, 326 flights from nine Ukrainian cities are to go to Turkey. This is 62% more than the 201 flights that took place during the same week in 2019. The top three destinations are: Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman. The airline ranking is: UIA – 125 flights; Azur Air and SkyUp – 71 flights each; and Windrose – 59 flights.

Starting from April, Chinese tourists can enter Ukraine without visas and stay for up to 30 days, according to a Decree signed last week by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The experimental visa-free regime is to last six months, until Sept. 30. All visitors to Ukraine need to show a negative coronavirus test and proof of purchsae of travel / health insurance.

Ukraine plans to open a Consulate General in Houston this year, said Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine’s outgoing Ambassador to the US, speaking to the US-Ukraine Business Council last week. Scheduled for last year, the opening was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Antonov Airlines’ mammoth An-124-100 Ruslan cargo aircraft, recorded nearly 8,000 hours of air time last year, a record for the 32-year-old Kviv-based company, Mikhaylo Kharchenko, Antonov’s Director told the Center for Transportation Strategies. In the most recent urgent, outsized delivery, three Antonov Ruslan’s flew 370 tons of mining equipment from Australia to Brazil. The shipment was chartered by UK-based Chapman Freeborn Airchartering.

As Ukraine struggles with its ‘third wave’ of coronavirus infections, daily hospitalizations hit a record 5,052 last week, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has reported on Facebook. This is more than double the peak of 2,000 hospitalizations recorded during the last wave, four months ago. With a ‘British variant’ spreading fast, Stepanov warned during an appearance on Ukraina 24 TV that daily infections could rise to 25,000.

Paperwork delays should be cleared by early April to allow use of 215,000 Sinovac vaccines that arrived in Kyiv last week from China. Separately the first vaccines under the UN’s COVAX initiative are to arrive in early April, Stepanov told Ukraina 24. Ukraine has paid for 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines from India, but delivery was suspended as India faced rising infections. Of the first batch of 500,000 that arrived in Ukraine one month ago, only one third have been used.

 

 

Upcoming events:

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Energy Sector: New Opportunities”

April 20, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Vitaliy Radchenko, Partner, Head of Energy & Projects, CMS Camaron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-250.html

 

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Agriusiness: New Opportunities”

June 17, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Gebhard Rogenhofer, Wurzelwerk GR GmbH

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-250.html

The original English version is from our partner UBN – Ukraine Business News. For more information and news archive, go to: www.ubn.news.

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