Odesa International Airport has a rather remarkable presentation in which it begins by reviewing its 2021 results, and pivots to outlining what happened to it during Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Ukraine joined Europe’s single aviation market just last fall. Odesa is a region of 2.4 million people (but 3.9 million in the airport’s catchment area), with a million in the city itself – the third largest city in Ukraine and an export hub because of its coastal location.
Odesa passengers were actually up against pre-pandemic 2019. 2021 brought service from Wizz, Pegasus, Qatar, Anadolujet and Bees along with 23 new routes. As they say, “that was then, this is now.”
Here’s another farmer pulling away Russian military hardware.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 30, 2022
And I haven’t been able to stop watching this weeks-old Downfall-worthy meme parody of a song celebrating Russian paratroopers (VDV):
As challenging as Russia’s invasion has been for the Kremlin – not the 3 day victory they expected, no welcome with open arms – they’re still doing real and substantial damage and creating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Ukraine is ‘losing’ in the sense that Putin’s invasion, for all of the deaths it’s brought to Russian soldiers, is creating real loss for the country that’s under attack.
Odesa airport leadership laid out lessons on “sav[ing] an airport on initial stage of war” – not something most airport authorities need contingencies for. They emphasize communication with military; work to preserve terminals, runways and equipment; and IT security as well as ensuring security for flow of funds.
On behalf of 17 active airports in Ukraine and more under development, they’re asking for aid in the form of,
- Temporary employment opportunities for airport specialists at other airports in Europe, which benefits the workers themselves and keeps them connected to aviation so the expertise is available to re-staff when things return to normal
- Used equipment to replace war losses
In the U.S. we handed out much more in bizarre payments to small airports for no reason and those airports weren’t invaded, didn’t have missiles target them.