In Spring 2022 I promised my new friends I’d be back when the airports reopened. Guess I can’t wait that long.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, I will be kicking off Trek to Bucha’s promotional tour in Ukraine in January 2023 Trek to Bucha - Tour Info (theoeco.org). Unfortunately, just like in the Spring it will take several days of flights, trains, and cars to get to the Bucha Premiere on February 5th. That includes an overnight flight to Warsaw from Boston, a night in Warsaw, a sleeper train to Kyiv, and then a ride to Bucha after a night’s stay in Kyiv. All of which carry their own risks of course.
Sure wish I could just fly to Kyiv like before the February 24th invasion 10 months ago. To which most say: “Well, duh. Of course the airports are closed. There’s a war going on you know!”
Yes, I know. And I’m not typical. But as I offered back in September:
“It also means getting airports reopened and transit normalized to the extent possible. There has been war going on in Ukraine’s east for almost a decade and Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport stayed open until February 24th when Ukraine closed its airspace. We need to get back to that. If more advanced missile defense systems and the like are needed to keep jet liners safe then supply them.” Trek to Bucha Epilogue: Force Majeure (Act of God) – Part 1 (Economics) (theoeco.org)
New Patriot missiles systems are finally on their way to Ukraine. These have the potential to reduce the risk to commercial jets to a minimum even if Russia were foolish enough to shoot down civilian aircraft again. Even China and India would object to such barbarism.
Missiles and drones threaten the Capital and other big cities throughout Ukraine. But the risk of death to civilians not on the front lines is about the same as the USA from guns. See: On this Thanksgiving Weekend Ukraine and USA Share Two More Things: Thankfulness and Violent Death Rates (theoeco.org).
Russian strikes tend to be focused on electrical infrastructure. Presumably, when the airport in Kyiv is reopened it will also be targeted. Enter the new missile defenses.
I’m not saying this will – or should – happen overnight. Demand for flights will be low anyway as long as power is unreliable, not to mention water. Yes, the number of passengers might be light but the symbolism huge.
Stick it to Putin while providing a huge boost in morale to Ukrainians and their supporters? The time is nigh for flights to resume. Ukraine’s economic recovery and the return of its refugees depend on it. And for those that object to billions in economic supports to Ukraine might proffer, patriot missiles are cheaper than Ukraine’s ongoing economic depression.
We’ll need brave pilots and flight attendants – and passengers. Airfares need to be cheap. A missile attack could be considered a force majeure so insurance policies for carriers and passengers will need to consider the risks and subsidies provided to cover the risks a carrier might incur. Passengers will need to be covered separately by Accidental Death policies.
I wish it were an option right now. Because as much as I look forward to going back to Bucha, I don’t look forward to getting there.