Ukraine’s Airline Looks To Lease Out Planes & Crews

Ukraine’s Airline Looks To Lease Out Planes & Crews

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Ukraine’s national airline has announced a pretty cool way that those around the globe can support the airline, all while keeping planes and crews safe.

UIA looking to wet lease its aircraft

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has suspended operations through at least April 15, 2022 (realistically the suspension could last way longer than that, but that’s where things stand as of now). Obviously this not only has a negative financial impact on the airline, but there’s the general risk to the safety of the employees and planes.

People at the airline are now getting creative, as UIA is looking to partners around the globe who may want to “wet lease” UIA aircraft, which means leasing the carrier’s aircraft with crews. It’s being proposed that these planes could be used for charter flights, for humanitarian flights, or for an ongoing lease service.

The concept of wet leasing aircraft is nothing new, and there are even charter companies (like Hi Fly) that specialize in this, and have this as their primary business. As the airline describes this concept:

In times of martial law and the closure of Ukrainian airspace, UIA strives to maintain operations in order to ensure its contribution to the economic stability of Ukraine.

As you’d expect, the airline is specifically looking to operate charter flights outside of Ukraine, but only for companies that don’t fly to Russia or Belarus, and that don’t receive funding from these countries.

UIA operates a fleet of roughly 30 aircraft, including Embraer E190/195s, Boeing 737s, and Boeing 767s. You can read my review of UIA’s 767 business class here, and read my review of UIA’s 737 business class here (I also reviewed UIA’s 777 business class here, but unfortunately the airline no longer flies those planes).

Ukraine International Airlines 767 business class

I’d love to see an airline help out UIA

As we see a recovery in demand for air travel in so many places around the globe, we’ve heard many airline executives talk about how they don’t have enough planes and crew members. We’ve also seen many airline executives express their support for Ukraine in this horrible war.

So here’s an opportunity for airlines to take action — an airline can get some much needed capacity while also helping Ukraine. I’d have to imagine that in most parts of the world this would be quite popular, and most passengers would view this very positively.

Admittedly the logistics would in some cases be complicated, as airlines sometimes have complex union contracts, sometimes there are rules around certain aircraft operating in certain countries, etc. Nonetheless it sure would be admirable if an airline actually tried to step in here and help UIA.

Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 767

Bottom line

With Ukraine International Airlines grounded amid a war, the airline is now looking to lease out its planes and crews to other airlines around the globe. The concept of wet leasing planes is nothing new, though in this case I think it’s fair to say that the airline is wet leasing with a cause. Not only would leasing a UIA plane help the airline make some money, but it would also ensure that both planes and crews remain safe as the war in Ukraine continues.

I think it’s unlikely that we see a widespread wet lease agreement, but I’d love if it happened, and I’d make an effort to fly with that airline…

Is there any airline you could see engaging UIA for this unique opportunity?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Conversations (12)
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  1. Andy Diamond

    UIA has an excellent safety record and the planes are mostly new(ish). It would be mainly 737NG and a few Embraer planes, since the 767 is stranded in KBP if I'm not mistaken.

  2. Mary S Guest

    Would really cool if the top 15 airlines around the globe took 2-3 planes and wet lease these planes for 60-90 days. Unions could give a 1x exception.

    No real impact on unions when you have hundreds of planes in a fleet. And just the right thing to do.

  3. Alvin Guest

    Repatriation flights for stranded Russians throughout the world

    1. Dick Bupkiss Guest

      Drop them off in North Korea.

  4. derek Guest

    I do not trust the maintenance of that airline and don't know about the pilots and cabin crew. Better to wet lease US and EU airlines.

    1. Ed Guest

      What a ridiculous comment. The airline has had no accidents in its 30 year history. Your bias over even the name "Ukraine" clearly shows.

    2. JohnS Guest

      The only one fatal incident involving Ukraine International Airlines is the flight 752 shot down by missiles in Tehran, Iran (another terrorist country like Russia) back in 2020. While the airline did not "have no accidents" in its history, the crash cannot be attributed to the airline and it has nothing to do with maintenance or crews.

      There is another airline with similar name, Pakistan International Airlines, who has a very poor track record and...

      The only one fatal incident involving Ukraine International Airlines is the flight 752 shot down by missiles in Tehran, Iran (another terrorist country like Russia) back in 2020. While the airline did not "have no accidents" in its history, the crash cannot be attributed to the airline and it has nothing to do with maintenance or crews.

      There is another airline with similar name, Pakistan International Airlines, who has a very poor track record and is actually banned from US and UK airspace.

    3. VL3 Guest

      so you don't trust an airline that did not have a single big incident in the last 30 years?

  5. Eskimo Guest

    Still waiting for my refund from Aerosvit.

    And if you think tracing Aman hotel ownership is fun, try UIA.
    Just because it isn't called Aeroflot doesn't mean there are no ties to Russia.

    Former Soviet have oligarchs everywhere.

  6. cap2y New Member

    Where are these planes currently? Are they still in Ukraine?

    1. Joe205 Guest

      I believe at least some of the planes were flown out of Ukraine prior to the airspace being closed while others were left in Ukraine. So it's likely a mixed bag.

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Ed Guest

What a ridiculous comment. The airline has had no accidents in its 30 year history. Your bias over even the name "Ukraine" clearly shows.

4
Mary S Guest

Would really cool if the top 15 airlines around the globe took 2-3 planes and wet lease these planes for 60-90 days. Unions could give a 1x exception. No real impact on unions when you have hundreds of planes in a fleet. And just the right thing to do.

1
VL3 Guest

so you don't trust an airline that did not have a single big incident in the last 30 years?

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