Russia crisis begins disrupting Ukraine air travel as insurers drop some aircraft coverage

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An Ukraine International Airlines passenger plane is seen as Turkey’s first official spotter area has been put into service for aviation enthusiasts and photographers at Istanbul Airport in Istanbul, Turkey on June 25, 2021.
Mehmet Eser | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine International Airlines on Monday said it’s moving some of its planes to Spain after insurance companies refused to cover operations in Ukrainian airspace as tensions mount with Russia.

The Kyiv-based carrier said it sent five Boeing 737s to Spain at the request of its aircraft leasing company after it received “an official notification from insurance companies to terminate the insurance of aircraft for flights in the airspace of Ukraine.” The carrier has a fleet of 25 planes, according to its website.

Other disruptions resulting from the crisis include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ announcement on Saturday that it was suspending flights to Ukraine until further notice.

The country’s Infrastructure Ministry said Sunday that Ukrainian air space remains open and that “most airlines continue to operate without restrictions” though it noted some airlines have had problems with insurance providers.

“For its part, the state is ready to support airlines and plans to provide additional financial guarantees to support the air market,” it said.

Ukrainian International Airlines’ announcement came after another carrier from the country, SkyUp Airlines, said one of its Portugal-to-Ukraine flights over the weekend was forced to land in Moldova at the direction of the company it leases its jets from. It also said it would suspend ticket sales but said Monday they had resumed.

“Negotiations with insurers have been difficult, and our foreign partners continue to regularly assess their own risks and monitor the situation, SkyUp’s CEO said in a statement Monday. However, now, with the joint efforts of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the Government, we have managed to achieve results: flights to Ukraine remain safe and secure.”

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