KIEV, July 11 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said on Tuesday he would seek to sack the head of Kiev’s main airport after Irish low-cost airline Ryanair cancelled plans to fly to Ukraine for the first time over alleged protectionism in talks.
Ryanair, which has been in lengthy negotiations with Boryspil airport, said on Monday the airport’s decision to “protect high-fare airlines” had scuppered plans to launch new routes to Kiev and the west Ukrainian city of Lviv this year.
“Tomorrow I will propose to the cabinet the dismissal of (Boryspil Director Pavlo Ryabikin),” Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan was quoted as saying by his press service.
Boryspil declined immediate comment.
Ryanair’s decision has drawn attention to the power of vested interests in Ukraine, whose government has vowed to tackle endemic corruption in exchange for a $17.5 billion bailout deal from the International Monetary Fund.
Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA), which is part-owned by tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, has denied it has been lobbying to prevent a deal between Ryanair and Boryspil.
Reformist lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem said hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians has been robbed of the right to cheap air travel.
“I think there is going to be a big scandal,” he said in a post on Facebook. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth)