Ukraine International Airlines denies attempts to exert pressure upon Uzbekistan airways and considers such-like statements of the Embassy of Uzbekistan to Ukraine and Uzbekistan airways – Uzbekistan`s national carrier – to be aimed at maintaining the Uzbek airline`s monopoly position on air transportation market between Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The press release of the Embassy of Uzbekistan to Ukraine dated November 11, 2013, states that “Ukraine International Airlines... exert pressure upon the Uzbek party in order to obtain specific slots at Tashkent International airport” which is in opposition to the facts.
UIA started working upon launching UIA-coded non-stop scheduled flight en route Kiev – Tashkent – Kiev in early 2013. To embody the intention of establishing air connection between Ukraine and Uzbekistan, Ukrainian carrier submitted all the documents required to be licensed to operate flights. In accordance with the requirements of the national legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan UIA branched out a representative office and appointed a representative. According to the international requirements UIA directed a slot request to operate two weekly flights between Kiev and Tashkent. Since UIA is a network carrier between the East and the West, the North and the South, and makes its flight schedule so as to provide passengers with maximum comfort and optimal connections at Kiev Boryspil International airport, UIA requested nighttime landing and take-off slots at 10:40 p.m. and 0:55 a.m. (UTC) respectively. The airline`s position was flexible enough – UIA expressed offered to take any slot +/- 1 hour and any weekday (except two days in a row). Simultaneously, the carrier worked upon obtaining similar slots within the period of IATA Winter 2013/2014 schedule.
After lengthy negotiations UIA obtained compromise slots to operate flights in the Summer 2013 season in late September 2013 (one month prior to the end of the summer schedule), which actually meant 6 flights` operation without being licensed to operate flights at any later dates. Both late slots` provision and unavailability of information on flights` operation within the approaching winter season deprived UIA of the opportunity to launch flights en route Kiev – Tashkent.
Simultaneously, the Uzbek part did not provide UIA with the slots requested for the winter season. Motivating the denial to provide the slots needed with technical inability to handle UIA flights during the requested period, the Uzbek part offered to handle the Ukrainian carrier`s flights in the daytime (4:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. UTC) within the period of Winter 2013/2014 schedule. UIA-coded flights` operation within the specified period of time is senseless in terms of ensuring transit flows via Kiev Boryspil International airport – the rapidly developing hub.
UIA casts serious doubts on Tashkent International airport`s reasoning. Having conducted a thorough study of the airport’s handling processes and procedures UIA arrived at the conclusion that the airport had sufficient resources and reserves to handle UIA flights within the periods indicated. The airport schedule indicates the requested time period is a “peak hour”. UIA has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to compromise by changing both hours and weekdays of UIA-coded flights` arrival and departure time. Tashkent International airport took a tough stand demonstrating disinterest in providing UIA with the required slots and, consequently, unwillingness to let the Ukrainian carrier enter Uzbekistan`s air transportation market.
“Ever since its establishment in 1992 – for over 21 years of operations on international air transportation markets and partnership with airports worldwide – UIA has been acting through negotiations, within legal environment and in strict compliance with business principles, and thus always managed to strike a happy medium, – noted Evgeniya Satska, UIA Corporate Press Secretary. – We reckon UIA and Tashkent International airport are unable to arrive at mutually acceptable decision since the airport and Uzbekistan airways belong within one holding company and intend to preserve the Uzbek national carrier`s monopoly position. UIA is willing to cooperate, ready to be flexible and to carry on with negotiations. The airline`s policy involves, foremost, ensuring passengers` comfort and reasonable rates which is possible under conditions of healthy competition only. We hope to come up with the solution soon and thus to provide passengers with an opportunity to quickly and easily reach the Uzbek capital on board of the leading Ukrainian carrier”.