Ukraine’s airport mired in controversy

A member of Ukraine’s parliament is petitioning the new Ukrainian government to protect the country’s fledgling commercial aviation industry. MP Svyatoslav Oliynyk has formally requested that the recently-installed Cabinet of Ministers under Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych intervene in DniproAvia’s long-running fight with the German carrier Lufthansa, a struggle that has strained relations between the two countries.

MP Oliynyk notes that the appeal calls for a change in mindset. “One of the reasons of my appeal to the PM is to wake-up the state authorities and push them to protecting national interests in international aviation transportation like Germany or other European countries do.”

The conflict has seen the German government support Lufthansa since an October 2005 scheduling problem, which saw Lufthansa reject DniproAvia’s confirmation of 5 of 6 Lufthansa-requested time slot. The sixth was shifted from morning to afternoon in order to accommodate existing flights on the Dnipropetrovsk-Frankfurt am Main run.

The scheduling issue escalated in March 2006 when the German Federal Department of Civil Aviation (hereinafter - LBA) revoked first DniproAvia’s landing rights at Frankfurt and then throughout Germany. The reasons given included Lufthansa’s scheduling problems and allegations that the airline had not been given a permit by the Ukrainian authorities for flights in the Summer 2006 period, though the information provided by Lufthansa to the LBA was at best incomplete and incorrect.

MP Oliynyk hopes that involving governments at the highest level will resolve the issue. “Ukraine’s state aviation authority seems to have little power or influence in the current conflict with LBA, so having the Government of Ukraine join the negotiations could significantly shift the balance and create a situation where competition on the national market can be protected.”

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“Also, using diplomatic means can take a conflict out of shadow and foster a solution according to internationally accepted principles” - stresses Mr. Oliynyk
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