10 Questions for Olga Fedorchenko / UEFA Champions League Final
Kiev is gearing up for what is expected to be one of the most important events of the year – the UEFA Champions League Final on May 26, 2018. Euro Jet is ready to offer a full range of support to flights flying into Kiev for the event. At Euro Jet we have someone who manages them all – our famous (at least among customers) Ukraine Country Manager Olga Fedorchenko. She is a strong, determined, and very hands-on woman who has run the Euro Jet Ukraine operation since the beginning. She has coordinated our customers’ flights and managed our Euro Jet teams located at all Ukrainian airports through times when Ukraine was a popular destination and also through the more difficult periods.
We sat down with Olga to ask her about flights to Kiev during the Champions League Final and other aspects of our customers' flights that one might not realize plus much more.
1. You have supported hundreds of flights related to sporting events in Kiev over the years. What is the most challenging part?
The most difficult thing when servicing any flights is the lack of information, which is difficult when trying to provide the highest quality service. Last minute requests may also effect the quality of the service provided. But my team always manages to take care of arrangements that are more complex. My slogan for a good ground services coordination is: Tell me what you need and how much time do I have to make it happen.
2. We have informed our customers about slot coordination and possible lack thereof. What is your advice to get ahead of this issue?
According to the requirements of the two Kiev airports Boryspil and Zhuliany, permits for landing will be considered after May 2nd, once it becomes clear which two teams will be participate in the final game. The official closing date for charter flight slot applications is 18 May. Only changes will be allowed after this deadline.
Requests for slots can be sent at any time, but at this point without confirmation. For that reason it is helpful to use a company like ours, as we have a close relationship with both airports.
3. You personally supervise all flights coming into Kiev’s Zhuliany and Boryspil airports. Which one is your favorite? And why?
Well, each of those airports have their pluses and minuses, but my favorite is definitely Boryspil. It is much bigger, it has more handling facilities, therefore it can provide more services and accommodate more aircraft. And Euro Jet has definitely more flights to Boryspil than Zhuliany. Zhuliany is a smaller, privately-owned but also a newly reconstructed airport.
4. Will there be any differences if the customer decides to land at Boryspil or Zhuliany?
The choice depends on the needs of both the passenger and aircraft service side. Boryspil is a state-owned international airport with a very good infrastructure. Passengers and crew flying private can make use of the VIP and ZOD terminals which are reasonably priced. Zhulyany is mostly a privately-owned airport, and the services there are also very good. However, it often tends to be more expensive in terms of the VIP experience.
5. Since parking will be limited at UKBB and UKKK which other airports besides Kiev do you expect to be the busiest ones during the UEFA Final? What is the latest information on this subject?
Since both airports in Kiev are expected to be occuppied to their maximum capacity, overnight parking for large charter flights is unlikely to be allowed in Kiev. The same strategy was applied during the 2012 Euro Football cup – big aircraft were permitted to drop off pax only and return to airport of departure or use the closest alternative airports in Ukraine. In terms of alternate airports, my recommendation is Vinnitsa (268 km outside Kiev), Kharkiv (480 km outside Kiev), or Dnipropetrovsk (450 km outside Kiev).
The latest information we have is that at Boryspil, aircraft with wingspan not longer than 24 metres will be allowed to park overnight on the military apron with mandatory towing service upon arrival. Upon departure, towing will not be required. Up to 60 small aircraft will be allowed to park there. The main apron at Boryspil will not be used for business jets. On May 20, the airport authority will decide if some larger aircraft will be allowed to park overnight. The maximum can be six large aircraft, but please note that this information may change as we get closer to the event. Zhuliany will not allow long-term parking (1-2 days). Most aircraft will be only allowed to drop off passengers and then relocate to an alternate airport.
6. How far is it from both airports to city center? Will there be traffic, lack of transportation?
From Boryspil airport you can usually get to Olympic Stadium in 36 minutes (34 km) and to the Center of Kiev in 38 minutes (34 km). From Zhuliany to the Stadium the journey takes 18 min (7.5 km), to the Center of Kiev - 21 min (9 km). I do not think there will be any problems with traffic. The only issue will be with prices. During the 2012 Euro Cup rates increased 3-5 times more than a normal operation. My advice is to check the availability of transportation in advance or book it before your arrival.
7. Can you briefly tell us about your team of Ground Support Coordinators across other airports?
My team is very well trained, and they always make sure to meet the service standards of Euro Jet. They are all English speaking, take their responsibilities very seriously and love their jobs. They are also very good at managing even more difficult operations. I like to talk to them about what we experienced during our work days as sharing operational experience is helpful to all of us.
8. What if our customer simply cannot make arrangements in advance for the UEFA Final?
I cannot predict how the traffic will look. Everything will depend on how busy both Kiev airports will end up. But there is always an alternative of dropping off pax in Kiev and then relocating to the nearest alternative airport. We have our staff at all airports, so our customers will be taken care of everywhere.
9. Do you have any advice or lessons learned from the EURO Footbal Cup that was held in Kiev in 2012?
From that experience, I remember the biggest challenge being parking, aircraft positioning, and refueling. The VIP and ZOD terminals were always crowded as many aircraft were taking off almost at the same time and our airports were not ready for such a massive increase in traffic. Therefore, we experienced many ATC delays. My advice is to schedule departures not immediately after the game, but a little later when the traffic will not be as heavy. Another important thing is to make sure the crew and passengers arrive to Ukraine with valid documents: have VISAs if you need them, valid passports, not just ID cards.
And as during any big event taking place in one city – book your hotel early!
10. As a Kiev local, what are the must-see places in Kiev besides the Olympic Stadium where the Final game will be held?
For Euro 2012 Kiev organized a lot of entertainment on the main street of Kiev called Kreschatikwhere I would recommend one visit a restaurant or bar. Near Kreschatik Street is the very beautiful St. Sofia square. A boat trip on the Dnieper river is also highly recommended too. My advice to tourists, just like at any big event in any country, is to be on alert and keep an eye on your belongings. Also be careful, avoid any altercations, and political discussions.