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Ukraine’s much-maligned national flag carrier to cut nearly 1,000 jobs, slash long-haul routes

Ukraine International Airline announced on Thursday that it is cutting 900 jobs, or about 35% of its staff due to a major decline in demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

Ukraine banned passenger air services in March. Since then, the airline has flown only repatriation flights to bring Ukrainians home from other countries.

“Now the company’s management is taking all possible measures to reduce costs and generate income from single flights. Our goal is to preserve the company and key personnel, in particular flight crews”, CEO Yevhenii Dykhne said.

“We deeply regret to have stopped employing 900 highly qualified professional because of the substantial decline in the airline’s operations”, he added.

The airline had 2,650 employees at the beginning of this year. It said it hopes to resume normal operations after June 15, but estimates its passenger traffic will drop by 76% this year, down to 1,9 million passengers. In 2019, it carried 7,963 million passengers.

When passenger traffic is regenerated, the airline plans to restore minimal international route network. It does not expect to resume long-haul operations until at least April 2021.

UIA had already been struggling to return to normal after Iran accidentally shot one of its planes down in January. All 176 people on board were killed.

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