UIA lawsuits are groundless and unfounded, Volodymyr Omelyan
The UIA lawsuits are direct interference in the arrangements of another airline with airports. The lawsuits are groundless and unfounded. Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, stated the above in his comments for the press.
According to the Minister, determining discriminatory conditions and violations of competition rules is the competence of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU), but not of the court, "Currently, there are only AMCU mandatory recommendations to Boryspil airport whereby it is noted that only UIA has had discounts for several years, which is subject to an ongoing investigation.”
According to Volodymyr Omelyan, if the ministry's policy leads to lowering of prices of UIA and other carriers, then this means that the UIA has recognized the effectiveness of the ministry's policy and the competition is really growing, "The UIA claims to the Ministry are not damage to UIA but an accomplishment of Ukrainians and consequences of competition, for which the ministry is fighting."
Volodymyr Omelyan informed that claims are also filed to a foreign entity – Ryanair. It should be noted that mere procedure of summoning of this party will last more than 6 months.
"Prior to entry into force of any decisions, the presumption of contract validity applies. As of today and by potential court judgements’ entry into force, the contracts are valid. This is very unlikely for this year. The UIA claims are groundless and unfounded. The same logic may be applied as to a foundation that all of UIA contracts may be declared null and void. Apparently, the ministry should think about such a counterclaim and deprive the airline of its privileged status at Boryspil airport,” the Minister emphasized.
According to the Minister, the Memorandum which UIA has made references to in its claims is not an agreement, nor a binding document.
"The Ministry has no authority to determine conditions between airlines and airports. However, UIA does not have such authority either. The UIA lawsuits are direct interference in the arrangements of another airline with airports. The court has dismissed one of the lawsuits without instituting proceedings. The consideration of another lawsuit is scheduled for September 18, 2017. As regards the other two,– judges have not decided on instituting proceedings yet," Volodymyr Omelyan added.
"I want to emphasize once again that what is being seen today is not an accidental coincidence, not a negotiation, but deliberate blocking of the Ukrainian market. We have seen this not only in aviation, but also in the maritime industry, railways, energy sector. That is why both the government and the parliament need to decide what we do. Do we build Ukraine open to the world, or do we further want to make an island of Ukraine to which only selected entities with boats and other means of transportation have access,” the Minister emphasized.
"This is in the interests of the state that citizens be able to fly cheap and receive high-quality services. There already was a case with UIA in 2015 when the State Aviation Administration management was dismissed. The case was also accompanied by loud scandals, polemics and everything else. The result is that we made the right decision. We found competent management that assigns routes and gives directions to all airlines without any scandals. The market growth was 30% last year, and 50% this year. This is not UIA’s but the Ministry’s accomplishment. And what is happening now is deliberate blocking of any aviation industry development. To this end, all possible means are used: state authorities, government structures, expert environment. Large resource has been allocated to stop the entry of Europe's largest low-cost carrier into Ukraine. The problem is that this creates a huge precedent for Ukraine as we tell everyone that we want the world companies to enter Ukraine, but in fact, we do not," Volodymyr Omelyan said.
"I would sincerely advise the UIA owners and management to focus on the issue of paying due 400 million charges to the state budget, on development of Dnipro airport, Dniproavia airline, and many other issues. I look forward to a calm response from Ryanair, and that we will quickly stop this farce at the state level, which is now being provoked by the UIA owners,” the Minister added.