On December 17, 2018, the EU unblocked the operation of the Uzhhorod airport. The President of Ukraine, and following him the Minister of Infrastructure as well, promised that the flight connection between Uzhhorod and Kyiv would have been restored before the end of 2018.
It is January 2019 already, but there are still no planes flying in Uzhhorod airport. And the main obstacle is the inaction of the central government. This is reported by MP Anna Romanova from the Samopomich Union faction. After her visit to Zakarpattia region in December 2018, Anna Romanova sent a deputy appeal regarding the work of the Uzhhorod airport to the Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian.
“In Uzhhorod, during take-off and landing, planes have to enter the territory of Slovakia. In this regard, it is necessary to sign an agreement on the Common Aviation Space, hence the Cabinet of Ministers should adopt a resolution “On Amendments to the Regulations on the Use of Ukraine’s Airspace”, says V. Omelian to the people’s deputy in his response. But this draft act must be agreed upon by four more ministries. So far, it is only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that has presented its position on the draft resolution. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Defence are silent, delaying the process. Due to their inaction, the most western regional centre of Ukraine remains without air connection. Although it is a matter of political will – if there is a strong interested leader, then the authorities will consider such issues without delay.
Anna Romanova has calculated that the availability of a direct flight Kyiv-Uzhhorod can bring additionally almost half a billion hryvnias annually for the region.
“This flight connection alone will attract at least 30,000 tourists to Zakarpattia every year. If each of them spends an average of $500 per vacation, this will give additional $15 million in profits – almost half a billion hryvnias!”
Also, upon a request of the residents of Mukachevo, the lawmaker made inquiries about whether it was possible and advisable to open an airport in the city of Mukachevo. She received the following answer, “The state target program for the development of airports until 2023 does not provide for the construction of an airport in Mukachevo. At the same time, the State Agency for Infrastructure Projects in Ukraine, which is the customer of the project, is ready to make the relevant changes, taking into account the interest of local authorities, their willingness to co-finance the project and the future maintenance of the airport in Mukachevo. Such a project can have a positive influence on the economic development of Zakarpattia region.”