Ukraine International Airlines (UIA)—which had planned to take delivery of three Boeing 737 MAX 8s beginning in mid-April—will adjust its summer schedule as deliveries of the type are postponed until the US manufacturer’s flight-control software upgrade is certified and the grounding is lifted.

The Kiev Boryspil-based carrier said the lack of aircraft for this undetermined time period has forced the airline to modify frequency and reduce capacity on some routes.

Changes will affect routes including Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey) and Erevan (Armenia), where UIA will reduce the number of flights and/or capacity. The domestic route between Kiev and Vinnytsia will be canceled.   

For April, May and June, some flights are expected to be canceled between Kiev and Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine); Baku (Azerbaijan); Minsk (Belarus); Riga (Latvia); Geneva (Switzerland); Amman (Jordan); and Ankara (Turkey).

All MAX aircraft were grounded and deliveries suspended March 13 following the MAX 8 crashes of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 10 and Lion Air JT610 on Oct.  29, 2018, which investigators found to have similarities.

“Due to the unforeseen circumstances that led to the disruptions in the supply of aircraft, we were forced to make changes to the summer flight schedule. UIA redistributes the existing fleet and makes every effort to fulfill obligations to its customers,” UIA communications director Evgeniya Satska said.

UIA operates more than 1,100 scheduled flights per week with a fleet of 41 aircraft, including 28 737-700/800/900s. The fleet’s average age is 11.6 years.

Kurt Hofmann hofmann.aviation@netway.at

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