Ukraine International to restart transatlantic service to New York on 737

Ukraine International Airlines is set to start a transatlantic service from Kiev Boryspil to New York on their 737s.
The problem? Kiev is 4000 nm away from New York.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA from now) - the flagship carrier of Ukraine - is set to start a transatlantic service from Kiev Boryspil to New York JFK on their 737 planes. Previously, UIA was operating the service on their widebodies - Boeing 767-300 and Boeing 777-200 - but with the small demand for air travel and their pre-COVID plans to scale back. The airline was cutting on routes during the recent years and had get rid of their 777 fleet because of people coughing, either by grounding or returning to lessors.

The new service is scheduled to fly twice a week on a usual configuration of Boeing 737-800 and will make an exactly 1 hour stop in the Iceland town of Keflavik for refueling. It will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays, starting December 9th. Flight to New York (PS231) will take 12h 35m and the flight back (PS232) will take 11h 20m. It is currently unknown when or even if the direct service will be restored.

On a similar note, Azur Air Ukraine - a branch of russian tourist airline Azur Air - had received permission to fly to USA twice a week starting this October, but it looks like they won’t use it till spring of next year. The routes are still unknown, but they might just replace UIA on the direct route.

Sources

Initial story @ One Mile At A Time
Ukraine International struggles @ Forbes
Azur Air Ukraine @ Biz Liga (In russian)

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Woah that is crazy, I feel bad for the people that have to fly this route xaxaxa

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Now this is an interesting route. I’m glad that UIA is restarting Kyiv-JFK!

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I’m actually curious if anyone would really fly it. The business people would go away because the business class is just a blocked middle seat, and the travelers would rather transfer at London or something, so the price better be really good

Yeah I feel like most people would just fly New York-JFK to Frankfurt/London Heathrow/Paris CDG/Warsaw/or Amsterdam then to Kiev.

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Hmmm, this is very interesting. My question is, why. If you need to connect, why wouldn’t you fly to LHR, FRA, CDG, WAW, or AMS and connect from there? Twelve hours on a 737 doesn’t sound enjoyable anyway.

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I feel like if Aeroflot reopened their service from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Kiev Boryspil again that would be a very popular option

Popular? Fairly certainly.

Feasible in terms of political tension? Definitely not

Yeah exactly, that’s the problem unfortunately

It won’t happen soon, but if it was still open, everyone would have just flown aeroflot, because their single-isle business class is far better than the table in the middle business class that is popular in Europe and they have more US routes because, well, there are just more people in Russia

Also why do you think Azur Air would diversify into the U.S., they are mainly focused on Russian leisure destinations such as Cancún, Phuket, Varadero etc.

Well first of all their russian branch plans to fly to Miami and plans to start flying there, and second of all the ukranian branch doesn’t care about the russian tourists because of the relations between the countries.

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Oh wow I live in Miami so this definitely excited me! There is definitely a growing Ukrainian and Russian population here so this is no surprise.

Aeroflot already flies to Miami since 2012 and it seems like they want to swap the A330 that it was operated with to their new A350

Unless UIA offers a ticket that is cheaper than competition to justify someone taking a 737 in the standard Euro config for such a long flight, I don’t see any success. On the bright side, hopefully if they can get 5th freedom btwn KEF-JFK, that could turn tables.

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Yeah I flew on that service before it is very nice on the Airbus A333. Next time I go home I will fly with A350 hopefully!

Well that is… interesting. 737s are usually used for routes where fuel isn’t as big of a concern and where efficiency isn’t needed, but for them to host a route like this is quite unique, thanks for making this post Alexander, interesting read!

They don’t have the fifth freedom permit from Iceland at the moment, but Ukraine and USA signed an open skies agreement back in 2015, which gives fifth freedom rights to ukranian airlines over US territory (and vice versa), so I’m curious as to will that come into play

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This reminds me of the LH A319 flight to India some time back. Not a PaxExperience winner for sure. Thanks for sharing the news!

Lufthansa outsourced the flight to Puna to PrivatAir, which flew it on a 737 with a special configuration, on this one it seems like there won’t be.

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