UIA: Legal Dispute With Swissport 'Is Getting Political'

According to Ukraine International Airlines sources, today the regular hearing concerning UIA and Swissport corporate dispute was held in the Superior Economic Court of Ukraine. The Court partially granted Swissport International Ltd cassation appeal – the Kiev Commercial Court ruling adopted on Oct. 26, 2012, and the decision of Kiev Commercial Court of Appeal adopted on March 27, 2013 in UIA favor were reversed while the case was recommitted to the first-instance court.

Swissport repeatedly appealed to governmental bodies of Ukraine and the governing structures of the EU, wrongly accusing UIA of attempting to dilute Swissport share in INTERAVIA handling provider statutory asset. Herewith, Swissport ignored the fact that any disputable issues of business entities should be dealt within the legal environment and only through the judicial institutions of Ukraine which, according to the Constitution of Ukraine represent a separate branch of the government.

Swissport claimed consistently the Ukraine's judicial system to be corrupted, inefficient, and unable to protect foreign investments and often associated with raider attacks on business structures. UIA warned against making efforts to decide the corporate dispute of two private entities by addressing political institutions that are not related to the administration of justice in Ukraine.

Ukraine International Airlines received a message from Mission of Ukraine to the European Union informing that on Oct. 2, 2013, when the next UIA and Swissport court hearing also scheduled, the EU Commissioner for Commerce, Karel De Gucht is supposed to pay an official visit to high authorities of Ukraine and Swissport's letter as of Sept. 12, 2013 sent to Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President, can be discussed. UIA believes that as a consequence the current high level visit might result in postponing of the EU-Ukraine negotiations on Common Aviation Area Agreement if the court decision concerning UIA and Swissport dispute is not adopted.

Given the inadmissibility of engaging political resources of the European Union to resolve a commercial dispute and aiming at leveling prejudice of the court of the appeal, UIA representatives addressed the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine to postpone the case consideration until Karel De Gucht, EU Commissioner for Commerce, official visit to Ukraine is over and negotiations concerning Air Transport Agreement with Ukraine are completed. UIA representatives also addressed the court to issue decree on challenging the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine judges' board that was to consider the case.
Both UIA requests were denied. For this reason the Airline's representatives refused to participate in the hearing that could not be impartial because of critical political leverage.

Swissport’s lobby in the EU turned out to affect strategic relationship of Ukraine and the European Union. Despite the precedent set as a result of political leverage on Ukrainian legal proceedings on behalf of Swissport, UIA is ready to protect its interests at the Ukraine's court and has solid evidential basis to do so. In the meantime INTERAVIA – the subject of Swissport business interests – continues its daily operations and services to customers.

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