SkyUp founds subsidiary airline in Malta and wants to stir up the EU market with 19 machines

Boeing 737-700 (Photo: V1Images.com/Thorsten Urbanek).
Boeing 737-700 (Photo: V1Images.com/Thorsten Urbanek).

SkyUp founds subsidiary airline in Malta and wants to stir up the EU market with 19 machines

Boeing 737-700 (Photo: V1Images.com/Thorsten Urbanek).
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The Ukrainian low-cost airline SkyUp Airlines wants to establish itself permanently in the ACMI and charter business in the European Union. For this purpose, a new subsidiary is founded, which is to receive an EU AOC. This should also enter the scheduled business from March 2023.

Major shareholder Alexander Alba announced that charter flights for tour operators will initially be operated from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Moldova and the Baltic States. At the same time, it was also emphasized that the existing ACMI cooperations will be transferred to the new AOC. Smartwings, for example, currently has a SkyUp Boeing 737-800 under wet lease. This should also make it clear why Slovakia and the Czech Republic, for example, were explicitly mentioned.

Scheduled flights from Austria and Germany "probably"

The SkyUp partner also said that the start-up could also become active from Austria and Germany. This does not include existing ACMI orders, for example for Corendon, but charter flights and scheduled routes. Further details have not yet been given.

First you want to start with the ACMI and charter business. The Ukrainian SkyUp is already active in this. The future sister company SkyUp Europe is to “take over” the existing customers in the EU and continue to fly for them in ACMI or charter. In addition, the company wants to start its own scheduled flights from the countries mentioned in the second paragraph. Liner activities from Austria and Germany are considered likely, but are currently still being examined. You want to serve classic holiday countries, including Turkey, Egypt and Tanzania.

Sister company Join Up should ensure basic capacity utilization

According to SkyUp Commercial Director Liudmyla Slobodyaniuk, the Join-Up Group, which has branches in the Baltic States, Romania and Poland, already has its first major customer. SkyUp Europe, which is the official project name of the new company, could operate the scheduled flights currently being evaluated from the end of March 2023 at the earliest. "The long-planned strategic intention is being realized - the creation of a full-fledged European airline that will operate in the EU," says Slobodyaniuk. Working with Join Up is absolutely no coincidence: this tour operator also belongs to the Alba family's corporate empire.

However, SkyUp does not want to look too deeply into the cards, because “SkyUp Europe” is – as mentioned – only the project name. Although it cannot be ruled out that this will be the final brand appearance, the Ukrainian low-cost airline emphasizes that the brand, the first bases and the route network will only be communicated at a later date. One is currently in final negotiations with various bodies, including airports, tour operators and lessors. No information was given on the costs that SkyUp or its shareholders would incur for the EU project.

AOC and operating license applied for in Malta

One is much more talkative about the EU state in which one applied for the AOC: It is - unsurprisingly - Malta. SkyUp Europe's aircraft will therefore be entered into the 9H register. The management justifies the decision for the Mediterranean state with the fact that the support from the local authorities should be very good and of course the tax legislation should also be advantageous in order to be able to operate pan-European. Obtaining an AOC and operating license in Malta would be comparatively cheap because the costs (documents, official fees, permits, etc.) would only be around five million euros. Due to the Maltese regulations, which state that a new AOC holder must have at least two aircraft, at least two aircraft will initially be used. However, the exact number has not yet been determined. In any case, in the summer of 2023 they want to have 19 aircraft on the new EU AOC.

The first charter flights are scheduled to start in late autumn 2022. ACMI orders, which are currently being served by the Ukrainian SkyUp, are also to be transferred to the new company. The sale of tickets for commercial flights is scheduled to start at the end of November/beginning of December 2022. The first scheduled flight on its own account is scheduled to take place at the end of March 2023. The fleet is to be gradually increased to 19 machines, presumably Boeing 737s, but no information was given on the type of machine.

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Editor of this article:

Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

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Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

Nobody likes paywalls
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If you enjoyed this article, you can check Aviation.Direct voluntary for a cup of coffee Coffee trail (for them it's free to use).

In doing so, you support the journalistic work of our independent specialist portal for aviation, travel and tourism with a focus on the DA-CH region voluntarily without a paywall requirement.

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