Vladimir Omelian: “Flight to Europe should cost 10-30 euros”

Name: Vladimir Omelian

Born: 30.01.1979 in Lviv (Ukraine)

Career: Minister of infrastructure 14.04.2016

Education: In 2000 he received the degree of bachelor on speciality “Finance, international relations” at the Lviv national University. I. Franko. And in 2001, received a complete higher education in speciality “Economics and entrepreneurship” at National University “Lviv Polytechnic”.

Worked in various positions in the Ministry of foreign Affairs, the Ministry of environmental protection, Ministry of economy, Ministry of Finance, the Cabinet.

Worked in the Department of NATO and European security Governance of Euro-Atlantic cooperation, Department for policy and security issues Ministry of foreign Affairs. Also during the long trip from the foreign Ministry in Vienna he worked at the permanent mission of Ukraine to the international organizations. In addition, he headed the office of Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers. In the Ministry of Infrastructure came together with Andrew Brewer. First appointed Deputy Minister in December 2014. And after leaving the Brewery became his successor and held the post of Minister in April 2016. Knows English, French, German, Polish and Czech languages.

He is married with two sons.

— Mr President, the visa-free regime with the EU for Ukraine has earned in full force. What are the results of the first weeks of his work? What problems did they find?

— It’s nice that despite the skepticism, the Ukrainians actively make biometric passports for travel in Europe. So a year before the start bezveze we have developed large-scale infrastructure development of border regions of Ukraine with the EU. For this purpose, data required, Polish and Hungarian loans.

The planned construction of a new transport corridor which will connect the North, centre and West of Ukraine with the EU. We are talking about the direction of Gdansk — Odessa. Already began the restoration of the road. And if the Cabinet will provide funding, this year the route will be fully ready. And in 2018 I hope we will complete negotiations with the European Commission and will begin construction of the highway.

Also launched a railway connection with the EU. Although trains or wagons went to Europe before, but many areas were discontinued. Left a full message only with Russia. But high-speed trains must carry the Ukrainians in the EU. And here is the first route Kiev — Przemysl run. There is high demand. Plan to launch new destinations in other cities of Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. Need routes Budapest — Mukachevo, and Lviv, and several Polish cities. Necessary and narrow-gauge track, which connected Kyiv and EU capitals. It is important to make the project five cities — Kiev, Minsk and the Baltic States.

But for implementation of plans need a global reform of the railway, it is difficult to create a comfortable and budget proposals for passengers if rail infrastructure does not provide such opportunities. For example, a trip on the train Kiev — Przemysl is 450 to 600 UAH. But the tariff below cost in 1,5—2 times. The difference UZ subsidizes to promote the route. But if it was set the real price, it is unlikely that the flight was attractive.

And in aviation from 2016, the observed increase in traffic. If the world growth is 3-5%, last year Ukraine gave +30%, and in the expected +50%. This is important because cheap aircraft can compete with the car and W/d connections. The potential for growth there, as only 5% of Ukrainians summer.t. This figure want in 2-3 years to increase to 15-25%.
Open the sky of Ukraine for lowcost. Though there is tough opposition from the Ukrainian monopoly. To reverse the situation will allow the creation of a new airline in the segment lowcost. Hopefully, it will register in the fall. Is private investment: 51% — Ukraine, 49% foreigners. The structure should be such, as only companies with Ukrainian registration can perform domestic flights.

In Przemysl. Cheap tickets subsidizes the BONDS for the development of flight. Photo: Yuri Kuznetsov

— Are our infrastructure to ensure the growth of passenger traffic by all modes of transport in the direction of the EU? Where the situation is good, and where an urgent need to eliminate the problem? Perhaps MEW relies on a particular mode of transport?

— Problems can occur in any direction. Because, for example, despite the boom of aviation, we have this year Ukrainians wishing to purchase tickets, more than the aircraft.

See what people are willing to travel, if there are roads. But just now restored them. In 2016, was made in 1000 km of roads this year it is planned 2,000 km. Our ideology — European motorways that end at the Western border of Ukraine should continue in the country. Highway Budapest — Chop should be connected with Kiev fully, not rural roads. With the introduction of the Road Fund and attract private investors, we hope it will be fun. But it will take a few years, because the road is not built overnight.

The railroad should be developed. But W/e attracted passengers who need high-speed rail. “Hyundai” and “Tarpan” we believe speed, but they are regional trains at speeds up to 160-180 km/h On eurochristian 250-400 km/h while it is possible to dream of. And to be honest, it is not clear which technology will be better when dozreem to the development of railway financial. You may find that it is cheaper to develop Hyperloop Elon musk (vacuum trains project. — Ed.).

I want to develop the infrastructure of the Western Ukraine to the Ukrainians did not stand in queues crossing the border. Checkpoints are few, their capacity is small. It is necessary to revise the intergovernmental agreement regulating the throughput of items.

Our goal is to provide fast, convenient and cheap travel. To create a competitive environment. And the Ukrainians themselves will decide what transport to use.

— Speaking of queues on the border with the EU. They often create a car with foreign plates. Cars have to cross the border in certain periods, to have the right to move on Ukraine. But the long queues are bad publicity for Europeans who would like to visit our country on their cars.

— In the past the authorities have established high protective tariffs in the hope that we will have a full production car, and the Ukrainians will buy domestic. Did not work, and this gap is unlikely to be able to take. Therefore, it is better to reduce the cost of customs clearance of foreign cars and that will solve the problem of long queues at the border.

If Ukraine wants to develop our auto industry, it is better to go the way of China. There’s a long time invested in the production of cars. But realized that can’t compete with the Germans. China switched to a market of electric cars, which quickly became the world’s leading manufacturer. And Ukraine may enter the market of electric cars. We communicated with our manufacturers, when preparing the law on electric cars. Explained that want to make a 15-year strategy to establish production in Ukraine. Everyone liked the idea.

Where. The Minister loves Rome and advises countrymen to go there Photo: flickr.com

— You brought up the topic of reforming the BONDS. What needs to be done so we can ride in comfort? Main complaints: why do we have these old cars and when they improve to the level of “intercity”?

— There is a solution that will allow you to do this rather quickly. But we to this model are not psychologically ready, although it operates in aviation. Where most aircraft are leased. This should come in UZ.

How to do it? The first step is free competition. That is, rail infrastructure — rails, sleepers, station — owned by the government. For market participants established the standard tariff for using this database. Locomotives and cars can be private and public — this will allow you to compete in passenger and freight traffic. The second stage is leasing. There are manufacturers of the best locomotives and passenger/freight cars in the world. TIES and private operators can take into service a new transport, to pay lease payments, to provide services to move passengers or goods from point a to point B. it is necessary to make.

With foreign investors already held talks — the packages are formed, including the financial part with the calculations of leasing in local currency. But BONDS doesn’t want to implement these proposals, since it is monopolist on the market, and it is comfortable. After all, when it’s bad, you can raise the rates, stealing on repairs and maintenance. And the introduction of leasing will kill the monopoly and corruption. The increase in tariffs will have to justify.

In this regard, it is necessary to ask: what do you think about the position of the Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to hear the public report of the head of UZ Adalbert Balchune and then make the decision on the extension of its work or retirement?

— On the public record of Balcona I insisted since last fall. Well, what the Prime Minister said: at the end of the year should be a public report of Balcona. It is necessary to understand the situation in the company within the top 15 largest in the country. In my opinion, there is nothing done!

The Prime Minister stated: the management of UZ must be completely replaced. Support this. The report was to present 5 June. Six weeks have passed, report no. And given the fact that Balcon agreed with the Cabinet of your holiday for August, now waiting for the fall?! But sooner or later it will take place.

After the report, the firing of the team Balchune and appointment of new leadership we need to quickly agree on a financial plan, to create a transparent pricing policy. This will enable the passengers and owners of cargo to understand what their money goes. As far as I know, business is ready to increase freight rates, but there is a fair demand: we want to not steal the money, and reinvested in the improvement of rolling stock. It’s weird, when transport of goods is at a speed of 30-40 km/h and in the EU reaches 80-100 km/h And wildly when you struggle to find the wagons, as it turns out, no locomotives, and freight is delayed for months! This loss of business.

  • See also: Omeljan submitted to the Cabinet a submission on the dismissal of the head of the airport “Borispol” Ryabikina

— How to ensure that the report was submitted, and the financial plan approved?

— Should talk about business and passengers. The country lives at the expense of taxpayers, and the government should listen to their opinion. Therefore, we need a clear position and business passengers. Hardly people arrange trips to the dead cars without toilets, without air conditioning in summer, in winter without heat. But these problems will hear, if to talk about them. And then will be able to change something, and now you can start with the submission of a public report of Balchune and approval of the financial plan of UZ.

— If to speak about the financial plan, what positions you want to see?

— You need to introduce the tools of the lease and these rules to attract new rolling stock. UZ needs to pay maximum attention to the technical condition of railway infrastructure.

— And if to speak about rates, how to achieve justice and transparency in the calculations?

The Ministry did last year. And it is not necessary to invent anything. For example, there are proposals of the company, analyze it in MEW. If the numbers are justified and transparent, communicate with the business on the grounds of the EVA, ACC, associations. Explain that you want to index tariffs, as the railway infrastructure is worn by 90%. And if there’s nothing to fix, you have tomorrow to frustrate the contracts. But we guarantee that every penny of this increase will go towards improving railway infrastructure. I believe that after these conversations the parties understand each other. Then the calculations go for approval to the Cabinet.
But it is impossible to solve the problems of ULTRASONIC indexation of tariffs. Needs more work in Parliament to the transport Committee issued the law on railway transport, he was voted in BP. This will help in 2-3 years to launch a competitive model on the market of railway transport. But when the free competition, where the BONDS will see private owners providing the best services, the former monopoly will have to move and get rid of corruption, to provide customers with interesting offers.

Do not despair. In Ukraine still there are new low-cost airlines. Photo: flickr.com

— The same huge problem — the condition of roads and lack of money to repair them. Tell us about the plans of the IMU to bring at least the key highways to the EU level.

— Rehabilitation of roads in the West of Ukraine the priority only from the point of view that the inhabitants of the whole country would be comfortable to get to the EU. But we need tens of billions. For 10 years, Poland has invested $70 billion in the road. And if we had at least one-tenth, it would be possible in 2-3 years to significantly improve the situation. But those budgets will not be even with the Road Fund. Therefore, we must restore roads to a normal state, and then — to attract private investment for the construction of highways. Drivers will be able to choose to go on the free road or toll highway.

There have been preliminary talks with European and Asian companies who are ready to build two pilot area toll roads to 50 km each, to understand how it works in Ukraine. But for the realization of the need to amend laws and to guarantee to foreigners the protection of their investments from corruption.

We should not forget about the condition of the trails on the South and East of the country. I want together with “Ukravtodor” and “Ukrzaliznytsya” to offer a separate program for the development of infrastructure in the East of the country. There the canvas is destroyed. Therefore, it will build the first concrete road. We will start them this year. Already held meetings with cement — they promised not to raise prices. This will help to keep the cost of the concrete road at the level of the asphalt. This approach is good because Ukraine imports asphalt, and cement we have domestic. Moreover, the construction of concrete roads promising from the point of view of operation, because in contrast to asphalt, who lives 10-15 years, concrete is 2 times longer. And in the US test concrete roads are 40-50 years old. Just in time for the visit to America was a conversation that our market came American company with the technology and equipment. This will help Ukraine with our high-quality raw materials to build a good concrete road, because they are capricious, it was under construction.

— Talk about air transport. We have a lot of airports, but hubs are Boryspil and Lviv. MEW plans to develop the aviation market?

Was on an official visit to Germany, met with a colleague. It is in the private sector wanted to fly to Lviv. Says the city is fantastic, but getting there is impossible. Flew from Berlin to another city in the EU, boarded the train and then took the bus! But if some Europeans want to visit, shareware, Kropiwnicki, there is not exactly accessible.
And when the airlines require passengers $300-400 for a ticket back to Europe, few Europeans are willing to go for the money in an unknown to them the country of Ukraine. But if the ticket price is 5-10 euros, and easier to get on a plane and spend the weekend in the river or Kiev, see the sights, to try Ukrainian cuisine. And then suggest to friends to visit Ukraine. According to the principle of cheap air travel are running the world.