KIEV, Ukraine: As some airlines reviewed their services to Ukraine after the U.S. warned that Russia could invade at any time, Ukraine has pledged to provide funds to keep its airspace open to commercial flights.
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said the government had allocated $592 million to guarantee the safety of flights traveling through its airspace, but he did not specify how the funds would be allocated.
Dutch airline KLM, part of Air France, said it would stop flying to Ukraine, while Germany’s Lufthansa said it was considering suspending flights.
In 2014, 298 passengers were killed in a Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight that was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Airlines were continuing to operate “without any restrictions,” said Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry.
Shmygal said, “This decision will stabilise the situation on the market of passenger air transportation and will guarantee the return to Ukraine of our citizens who are currently abroad.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, told Reuters he saw no point closing the country’s airspace in response to Moscow’s troop build-up.
Scheduling reconfigurations by individual carriers had “nothing to do with the decisions or policies of our state,” he added.
“The most important point is that Ukraine, itself, sees no point in closing the sky. And, in my opinion, that would somewhat resemble a kind of partial blockade,” he said, as reported by Reuters.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian insurance companies have received a notification from reinsurers that airlines were not covered for war risks, news agency Interfax Ukraine reported.
Ukrainian carrier SkyUp said it had to divert a flight from Portugal to Ukraine after the plane’s owner prevented it from entering Ukrainian airspace.
The airline was “working together with state authorities to find solutions,” CEO Dmytro Seroukhov said.