Domestic and international traffic at Ukrainian airports continues to grow, as does connectivity.
Boryspil, Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv airports have all demonstrated outstanding results and effectiveness as a result of policies from the last few years and the efforts of their management together with the aviation authority. In 2018 Ukraine even made it into the top 20 countries in terms of the number of new routes. A total of 38 foreign airlines now fly to Ukraine from 37 countries and traffic reached more than 20 million passengers a year.
After the 2018 crisis involving delayed tourist charters, airlines and tour operators are coming into the market. JoinUp, the biggest Ukrainian tour operator, is now aggressively developing the SkyUp airline that already operates 7 aircrafts. Azur Air Ukraine, which is affiliated with another tour operator, Anex tour, has also expanded its fleet. At the same time, troublemakers like Bravo and Bukovyna are closing their charters program.
Low-cost airlines have become an ordinary service for Ukrainians and they now drive the market. Ernest, Ryanair, Wizz Air and others are constantly opening new routes and stepping up competition.
The State Aviation Service of Ukraine introduced new carriage of passengers and baggage rules that came into force in March 2019, and now they are catching up with the latest EU trends. The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine is becoming more and more involved in aviation markets and conducting investigations on things like access to airport infrastructure for ground handling companies. Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is still the main rainmaker in aviation law court cases. Ukrsatse air navigation services fees are disputed and it will lead to changes in respective legislation. State aviation fee cases ended in favor of the biggest Ukrainian carrier, but attempts via court claims to stop Ryanair entering Ukraine failed. In 2019 UIA will try to resolve their financial issues, having shown an ability to compete and adapt to new market conditions and trends.
Maritime and shipping is a key practice and industry for Odesa Region. Ports, logistics, agriculture are traditionally of significant importance for the region, which explains the popularity of this practice in the work of law firms in the southern Ukraine. This practice area usually takes in not only issues of marine navigation, but also port, transport infrastructure and logistics, which require special knowledge in different practices.
Among the main achievements of the market are the establishment and commencement of work of the State Service of Maritime and River Transport of Ukraine — the Maritime Administration; commissioning of the capacity of the new grain terminal of M. V. Cargo in the port of Yuzhniy; the growth of container turnover in Ukrainian terminals in 17%. The TIS group of terminals by the port of Yuzhniy continue to set a number of records in the transhipment of goods through their berths (25.7 million tons in 2018). Experts also note that Ukraine successfully passed the first audit by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the country’s history, in June 2018.
The constant growth of cargo turnover in ports located in the southern region cannot but affect the volume of services required to support the process of exporting goods from Ukraine. In this regard, there is activity in the sphere of sale and purchase of goods, transport and forwarding services, evaluation and quality control of goods. Also, the functioning of the institute of arrest of ships in connection with the adoption of changes to the Commercial Procedure Code of Ukraine has become an additional lever of the effectiveness of debt collection from ship-owners and charterers.
In 2018, we also accompanied a number of litigations with the fiscal authorities that are significant for the port infrastructure market. These litigations related to the calculation of the grain transhipment rate in terminals, particularly in appealing against tax notices-decisions on VAT and penalties for setting prices for transhipment services. Furthermore, an important role in the formation of the practice was played by the positive resolution of disputes between sea terminals and the Prosecutor-General’s Office with regard to the payment of share participation in the development of the community infrastructure when constructing port infrastructure.
In 2018-2019, there is a tendency for numerous disputes between transport and maritime companies and regulatory authorities, as well as pressure from law-enforcement agencies on major players of the maritime and shipping business. In this regard, the popularity of the practice of criminal law and business support in all difficulties continues.
Some problems in public-private partnerships also remain unresolved. To date, the issue of compensation of investments made by business entities in port infrastructure facilities, particularly the costs of private companies for dredging works aimed at modernizing hydraulic structures, has not been resolved. The issue of interaction between private sea terminals and the railways also requires further legislative improvement.
Ante Law Firm is well-known for its prominent practice in the aviation sector. The firm is the preferred legal counsel for a major part of aviation companies present in Ukraine, also consulting some “Big 4” companies on matters related to aviation law. The scope of services provided takes in litigations, taxation, antimonopoly and competition, labor, regulatory, etc. The firm expands its advice to cargo, handling and warehouse services operations. This past year Ante completed the litigation dispute “11 passengers v UIA, Emirates”, representing the interests of Emirates, in whose favor the decision of the Supreme Court was brought. It became a precedent in Ukraine of a collective court case against airlines. The firm provides full legal support of all the activities of Qatar Airways in Ukraine. In 2018 the dedicated team also handled more than 50 requests from such clients as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways on investigations by the AMCU and NABU regarding various issues. Its clientele includes Alitalia, Air France-KLM, SkyUp, Lviv Airport, Agentskiy, Tyche Tours and others. The firm is also a consistent port of choice for ticket sales agents and tour operators. Managing partner Andriy Guck is considered one of the most experienced and busy practitioners in the sector. Senior associates Kateryna Ishchenko and Roman Storonskiy are valuable members of this team.
The aviation boutique ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar Law Bureau is known primarily for constantly serving the biggest domestic air carrier, Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA). It is particularly noted for its strong focus on aviation related litigation, also possessing expertise in corporate, antimonopoly, debt restructuring and tax matters. During 2018 the firm represented UIA in three lawsuits against Lviv Airport and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine regarding agreements with Irish low-cost Ryanair; acted for UIA in a number of disputes with the Cabinet of Ministers and Aviation Service of Ukraine with respect of recovery of state aviation charges. Another highlight was advising UIA in a case related to violation of Ukrainian competition legislation by Lukoil Aviation (now called Amic Aviation), where the latter was considered by the court as a monopolist on the aviation fuel market. Interavia and Aerohandling are other key clients. Oleg Bondar, managing partner, is known for his vast experience of litigation in the aviation sector. Oleksandr Povar, senior associate, is an important practitioner.
As a long-standing market insider, Ilyashev & Partners represents clients from the industry of shipping, aviation, road and railway transport. The firm was appointed a Ukrainian legal advisor on regulatory issues concerning introduction by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade association for airlines, of new payment system EasyPay between its member airlines and travel agents. The firm represents the interests of Master-Avia Ltd, which is developing Kyiv International Airport, in an AMCU investigation on anti-competitive concerted actions. The firm advises a long-standing client, the Antonov State Enterprise, on the export control of international cargo transportations, on issues of registration and activities of the company Antonov Logistic Salis GmbH. It also represents its interests in several disputes, one of which is against the Ministry of Defense over two An-70 aircrafts. Other clients include Ukrrichflot, Cotecna Inspection S.A., Nika Tera Specialized Seaport, Port of Vitino, Arenka Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd, Air Astana and CAVOK Air. Senior partner Roman Marchenko heads the practice.
During 2018 INTEGRITES was involved in a number of significant projects in the aviation sector, representing some notable clients. The firm provides comprehensive legal assistance on matters related to treaty obligations, compliance, international sanctions, corporate matters, as well as disputes and court proceedings. The firm is also known for its expertise in competition law in the sector. The practice is led by Oleksiy Feliv, managing partner. Oleksandr Onishchenko, who joined the firm with his team as a litigation partner last year, is another key figure for dispute work.
The full-service law firm Asters has a remarkable client following consisting of aircraft and aircraft part manufacturers, Ukrainian and international cargo and passenger airlines, as well as other enterprises in the aviation industry. The firm is known for strong corporate and general regulatory advisory. Its team was also very active on the dispute front last year, providing legal support to Wizz Air Group on day-to-day activity in Ukraine, as well as on a great scope of various legal matters, and to Boeing’s subsidiary in Ukraine. Another notable client is Salini Impregilo S.p.A. The lead partners are Oleksiy Demyanenko and Vadym Samoilenko.
The Kyiv office of Kinstellar launched its aviation practice with the arrival of its head, Oleksiy Burchevskyy. The team is very well equipped to render regulatory advice, commercial contracting and disputes. A major European low cost airline is one of the firm’s core clients.
Aviation remains one of the key practices for domestic law firm Suprema Lex. It also provides legal support to carriers and service companies in road and maritime transport. This past year the firm protected the interests of the largest helicopter operator in a dispute with the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine on issues regarding refusal to extend the Air Operator’s Certificate. Clients include Air Taurus, Horiv-Avia, UIA, BM-TRANS, Emperor-Autotrans, Cordo International and others. Viktor Moroz, managing partner, is the primary figure.
Baker McKenzie has a standing presence in the aviation sector gained through its long-term involvement on various projects of privatization, corporatization, raising capital, financing, general corporate and regulatory advice, as well as financial transactions. The international firm is chosen by aircraft manufacturers and lessors for cross-border mandates. The firm is constantly preferred for landmark leasing transactions on the Ukrainian aviation market. Ihor Olekhov, partner, is particularly experienced in the aviation industry, including aircraft finance and aircraft lease1.
Domestic law firm Jurvneshservice possesses the particular expertise of aircraft financing, as well as corporate, antimonopoly, tax, labor and employment, recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, escrow matters within aircraft sale. Some projects in the past year were related to compulsory repossession of aircraft from Ukrainian airlines, as in spite of ratification of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment by Ukraine, foreign creditors continued to meet both legislative and administrative obstacles in the process of repossession of aircraft. The firm has a rich portfolio of projects on aircraft lease and sale. The team also represented the interests of clients like KV Aviation UK Limited, GRAF1 (Aviation) WSA Limited, AAR Aircraft and Engines Sales and Leasing, Inc., Apollo Aviation Management Limited on repossession processes. Anna Tsirat leads the practice. Another important practitioner is Kateryna Tsirat.
Vasil Kisil & Partners is noted for its well-established niche in the area of aviation finance and aircraft lease matters. The highlight of the past year included advising international aircraft owner and lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), as well National Australia Bank Limited (NAB), on corporate, transactional, aviation law, customs and tax, regulatory and compliance, and other Ukrainian law matters in DAE’s re-finance transaction with NAB. The transaction also involved new lease of an aircraft to Ukrainian International Airlines. Anna Sisetska, partner, is named a vivid practitioner in this area.
In 2018 ARBITRADE continued to develop its practice in aviation, both on transactional and litigation issues. Italian low cost operator Ernest Airlines received full legal support of its activities in Ukraine, including advice on the corporate and fiscal aspects of opening a subsidiary company, assistance in structuring, drafting and proof-reading of various agreements related to the airline’s activity, representations in negotiations with counterparties, as well as in disputes with the Customs Service of Ukraine and state border authorities. The team also provides legal services on aviation matters to such clients as Gold Craft FZE, Rukh Avia LLC and others. Andriy Shulga is the lead partner.
The Kyiv office of CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz has a wealth of expertise in aviation finance. The team advises leading international leasing companies on aircraft and aircraft engines leasing to major Ukrainian airlines. Partners Maria Orlyk and Anna Pogrebna are the main contacts.
Interlegal law firm, headquartered in Odesa and highly-specialized in legal matters of a maritime, shipping, yachting and logistics nature, is the choice of prominent international and domestic companies. The firm has a well-established network across the states of the Black Sea region. Even more, this past year Interlegal opened a new representative in the UK. In 2018 the sizeable team provided legal support on the issues of ship arrests, including the ones for bunkering or demurrage debts, as well as claims handling on ship repair contract and upon the general average. The yachting practice became an independent project. All partnership staff, namely Nikolay Melnykov, Arthur Nitsevych, Artem Skorobogatov, Natalya Myroshnychenko and Irina Voyevodina are involved in the practice.
In 2018 Odesa-based ANK Law Office traditionally acted as a legal counsel to leading P&I Clubs and insurers under issues connected with payment of compensation for loss of life, disability compensation and personal injury claims of Ukrainian seafarers during their employment on board foreign vessels and other marine perils. One of the significant projects was legal support of Platano Eesti (Latvia) during the project on construction of three ARCTICMAX vessels under a contract with Shanghai Shipyard Co. Other outstanding clients are American P&I Club, British Marine, Britania P&I, Columbia Shipmanagement, London P&I, MSC Shipmanagement, Navibulgar, NORTH P&I, Oldendorff Carriers, SKULD, West of England P&I, Transship, TT Club, the Standard P&I Club and UK P&I Club. Artyom Volkov, remarkable practitioner, is singled out for important cases in the development of this practice. Sergey Nedelko, Nina Kostyuk and Vladyslav Brig are also prominent practitioners. Alexander Kifak has a perfect reputation for many years, boasting a strong practice on ports and terminals.
The marine business is traditionally one of the main focuses of law firm Jurline. The prominent firm in Odesa and the entire region advises transport enterprises, marine terminals, freight forwarders, brokerage services, ship agency services, ship repair facilities, as well as other business entities, which operate in the ports of Ukraine. The firm is noted for its well-established relationship with key market players, and additionally services the passenger sector and public road transport. The dedicated team is involved in settling disputes related to the carriage of goods by rail, road and sea. The firm’s client base includes Illichivsk Grain Terminal, Illichivsk Ship-Repair Yard, TIS-Grain, TIS-Mindobryva, TIS, TIS-Container Terminal, M.V. Cargo, PJSC Severtrans, PJSC Odesavtotrans and others. Volodymyr Zubar is the lead partner, while partners Oleg Kutateladze and Maxim Kapelist, as well as counsel Vitaliy Kutateladze are important members of this team.
Sergeyevs’ Law Office is a boutique based in Odesa, experienced in maritime and related insurance, labor and employment, tax, dispute resolution matters. The recognized strength of the firm is defense of seafarers’ rights. In 2018 the firm represented the interests of crew members of the Boris Pevkin and Leonid Hotkin vessels in a maritime claim for unpaid wages; acted to resolve sensitive cases with Ukrainian seafarers involved. The lawyers also provided legal support in the drafting, advising and negotiating of international commercial contracts for the largest shipowners in the world — V.GROUP, V.SHIPS UK, CMA Ships Singapore PTE, Team Tankers Management A/S, Evergas Ship Management PTE. Yuriy Sergeyev and Svetlana Sergeyeva, both partners, co-lead the maritime practice.
Odesa-based Legrant has rapidly gained extensive development of its key offering — maritime practice. The team is particularly experienced in handling high-profile maritime disputes. This past year the firm represented the interests of FDI Inzernoexport, BSA Ukraine (agent of Evergreen Line), Odemara Ltd, Polaris Ltd, Overseas Transport Ukraine Ltd (agent of Hapag-Lloyd), United Marine Group, Graincom Shipping and Inchcape Shipping Services, and recovered overpaid sums of canal due collected by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority for the benefit of their clients. Managing partner Tatyana Titarenko grows her reputation due to a number of significant precedent-setting wins.
Coming praised for excellent communication skills, Andriy Kostin from PRAVO Law Office was named during the poll for his good standing in international maritime law. Konstantin Moryakov of MorJurInvest is another promising legal name in Odesa Region.
A major part of international trade practice area of AVELLUM is related to maritime and shipping. The team’s core strength is international arbitration that rises in the course of transportation of goods by sea. The firm represented AK Commodities S.A. in a dispute on the sinking of a vessel with the client’s cargo on board, where the team’s aim was to determine the precise moment when the risks for cargo were transferred, as well as the issue of sharing responsibility between the sellers, buyers, ship-owners, the buyer’s insurer, the ship-owners insurer, and the protection and Indemnity Club of the ship-owner. The team is a preferred counsel for top agro holdings seeking support in this type of disputes. Ivan Kasynyuk and Iryna Moroz, partners, lead the projects.
Eterna Law represents its clients in a wide range of arbitration processes on settlement agreements arising from breach of shipping arrangements and supply agreements. The firm successfully represented the interests of one of the largest foreign companies in the field of aviation leasing in the process of recognition and enforcing the decision of the International Commercial Arbitration Court. Partner Eugene Blinov is responsible for the practice.
Gramatskiy & Partners renders transport advice to its regular clients, and is often hired for contractual matters, leasing and forwarding. The firm provided legal support to Velta Omega on the transfer of a yacht in mortgage by Whites Communication in favor of a client to insure the fulfillment of obligations on payment for rent by the debtor. The firm’s recent portfolio also has several projects related to transport forwarding by both domestic and foreign clients. Roman Pozhodzhuk leads the transportation practice.
The Kyiv office of Dentons has sound sector clients in its portfolio seeking advice that is industry-related as well as general legal support. In 2018 the team advised BlaBlaCar, the world’s largest long-distance ride-sharing community, in connection with operations on the Ukrainian market. Dentons also advised Grand Solutions LLC on complex labor and immigration law issues in connection with a project on building the fourth metro line in Kyiv. Managing partner Oleg Batyuk heads the practice.
1 In June 2019 he joined CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang as a partner.