SkyUp, Never down!
The Ukrainian airline in an effort to fly high.
Brookfield Aviation has a solid relationship with the Boeing 737 operator - hit by pandemic and war… How are they managing in this hostile environment? We asked Dmytro Seroukhov, General Director at SkyUp Airlines and here is what he said:
Did the war take you by surprise?
In fact, the war has already been going on for 8 years, but before February 24 we could continue operations, as airspace was open. War is a catastrophe you can’t really get prepared for. Especially if we speak about the most cruel and devastating war in Europe since WW2. Certainly, we were aware of all the disturbing signals from the allies of Ukraine, but no one actually knew when the invasion was going to start and how disastrous it could be. What we wanted was to continue flights, provide Ukrainians with quality service, and keep the economy working.
Before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we managed to organize overnight stays for our aircraft in other countries. Thus, when the war started there was only one plane in Ukraine that had no time to fly away.
Did you have a plan of action?
Civil aviation is only possible in peaceful times. So there was zero chance for us to continue operations in Ukraine, as it is the only state where we had the license. However, SkyUp has a team of professionals who can respond to challenges fast and effectively. We wanted to support our country and save our business and job for our pilots, flight attendants, engineers, and the back office. So we provided humanitarian flights to the closest airports to Ukraine, evacuated Ukrainians to other states, and provided our fleet for wet lease. We have also provided flights for football clubs, the business direction we want to develop. Even now wet lease is the key possible activity for us since we still do not have the opportunity to fully operate in the European airspace as an independent airline.
What has been the biggest challenge?
As we are in a situation of uncertainty, any step seems to be a challenge. We were happy to survive the coronavirus crisis, as in Ukraine airlines had no financial support from the state, and were planning to grow activities in 2022, but the war started. So we had to switch to other markets. It is a long process to get the license and start flights. Now we pass through it, but it would be much easier for us if this procedure could take less time.
Have you received enough support from the Aviation Industry?
We are really thankful to all our partners who have helped us to keep flying. During the summer season of 2022, we have provided our aircraft under wet lease for Wizz Air, SmartWings, Freebird Airlines, Tailwind Airlines, Corendon Airlines, and some other airlines. But for sure we can do more: last year we provided twice as many flights than during the first half of 2022.
We start to work with Brookfield Aviation in this direction and hope that this partnership will be fruitful. So right now, together with our new partner, we look for more propositions to wet lease our B-737s, and would be happy to fly more because we know we can.
What do you need or want in the near future?
Our key aim is to stay in the sky and to return to Ukraine after the victory. To achieve this we need to continue operations right now. Currently, our task is to find more contracts for wet-lease services, as well as provide charter flights for sports clubs and humanitarian organizations. We also plan to get the license for flights in the EU and start acting as an independent airline.
Brookfield Aviation, representing Sky Up, will be pleased to provide your airline with a quotation for wet lease of the airline’s Boeing 737-700s and -800s. Circumstances have presented an opportunity for great value wet lease deals, so please contact Andres Lindarte firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.