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Europe’s Wizz Air Trying to Evacuate Staff and Four Aircraft Out of War-Torn Ukraine

Europe’s Wizz Air Trying to Evacuate Staff and Four Aircraft Out of War-Torn Ukraine

European low-cost airline Wizz Air confirmed on Thursday that it still had four aircraft on the ground in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military forces to launch an attack on the country.

Along with four-stranded aircraft, the Hungary-based carrier said it was attempting to evacuate all of its Ukrainian staff and their immediate family. The airline was unable to say how many people it was attempting to evacuate.

Ukrainian air safety regulators closed the country’s airspace to all civilian air traffic early on Thursday after Russian forces launched an orchestrated missile attack on key Ukrainian infrastructure targets.

There are reports that multiple airports across Ukraine have been targeted including unconfirmed reports of a missile attack on Kyiv Boryspil airport. Unverified reports claim the world’s largest cargo jet, the one-of-a-kind Antonov AN-225 has been destroyed during an attack on Hostomel airport.

Wizz Air said three of its aircraft were stranded in Kyiv while the fourth was stuck in Lviv. The airline operates an all-Airbus fleet of A320 series aircraft.

“We will be evacuating, at the earliest opportunity, all of our Ukrainian-based crew, their immediate families, and any families of Wizz Air Ukrainian nationals who wish to leave the country,” a Wizz Air spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Europe’s air safety regulator ordered airlines to avoid Ukrainian airspace, declaring the region an active conflict zone on Thursday. The UK’s Department for Transport warned airlines of the threat of surface to air missiles should they fly near the Ukrainian border.

Most European airlines had already suspended flights to and from Ukraine as diplomatic efforts to prevent an all-out war looked increasingly unlikely to succeed. Wizz Air and Ryanair were continuing to operate flights to Ukraine right up to Wednesday night.

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