LVIV – Behind Lviv's booming air traffic is more than booming tourism. There is also strategic lobbying by the IT industry.
Last year, air passengers jumped 46%, pushing the total number over 1 million for the first time since Independence. Taking note, Wizz Air is moving up by two months its new flights from here to London and to Dortmund. Flights to Dortmund now start March 26 and flights to London Luton start May 1.
To help the airport negotiate new destinations, the city’s influential IT Cluster started IT Jet, a project to research air traffic needs for the IT industry. Growing by 20% a year, the IT sector now employs 20,000 workers, most earning dollar denominated salaries.
“IT workers, particularly specialists, are huge frequent fliers,” said Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO of the IT Cluster, which counts 9,000 individual members and 60 companies. “Their clients are often abroad too. For this reason Lviv needs the best connections to other important IT hubs like London, Berlin, New York and San Francisco.”
Lviv's annual IT Arena symposium, one of Eastern Europe's largest IT events, attracted over 2,300 attendees last fall. Representatives came from Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. Many, however, had to fly here via Kyiv or Poland.
“It's not good enough,” says Veselovskyi, who runs an increasingly influential lobby group. “As Lviv becomes an IT capital, we need to be better connected with more direct flights.”
Today, Lviv’s Danylo Halytskyi International Airport has regularly scheduled direct flights to 18 foreign cities. By July, this list will grow by 11 new cities, largely in the EU.
IT industry leaders are lobbying for more European flights and frequencies – and flights to New York and Toronto.
“We want to show airlines the market potential for Lviv,” Veselovskyi says in an interview.
At the airport, officials are listening.
Research carried out by IT Jet is vital for showing Lviv's market potential to airlines and city destinations, airport officials say.
“We want to expand the amount and variety of flights we're able to offer,” Tetyana Romanovska, Lviv Director of Lviv Airport, writes on the official website. “We're ready to use information that will support this project.”“The airport is constantly working on further expanding our roster of flights and we're always negotiating with new airlines,” says Olha Kovalyk, the airport spokeswoman, said in an interview. “Using data and recommendations, such as those provided by the IT Cluster, is very important for this.”
After direct flights to here from London and Germany, IT executives now aim regular and reliable transatlantic flights to North America, a major source of IT work for companies here. Airport officials only say that talks for flight to Toronto and New York have started.
For comments and story ideas, please contact UBJ Reporter Jack Laurenson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Jan. 10, 2018