The press service of Ukraine's temporarily closed Boryspil International Airport, confirmed the departure of a commercial airliner on what was termed “a technical flight” on Tuesday.

The statement said that the airliner had no passengers or cargo, and complied with all safety requirements put in place during martial law.

The press release stated that the Boeing 777-300, previously belonged to the Russian airline Azur Air before becoming part of the Ukrainian Skyline Express fleet in 2021. This particular airliner has an unusual layout and can seat 531 passengers.

It was reported that the plane flew to the French Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport a few hours later. The airfield is used as a base for maintenance and long-term storage of airliners.

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This was the fourth aircraft to leave the airport since it was closed in February 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion. In September 2022, a WizzAir commercial aircraft that had been stranded in Lviv since the start of the war was flown to Poland; while last December saw two Turkish Airbus A400M military transport aircraft able to return home from Boryspil.

The last reported take-off from Boryspil was by a Boeing 737-800 badged to the Ukrainian airline SkyUp that was able to evacuate its last plane on April 4 according to the Ukraine Travel News website.

On that occasion the aircraft’s transmitters were turned off until the plane was in the vicinity of Chernivtsi, which was then tracked to the Romanian city of Iasi.

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Speculation was raised about today’s flight as it occurred less than two weeks after Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, told international diplomats on Dec. 1 that Kyiv would soon be able to reopen its main international airport because they could now provide the necessary security for the site.

Indeed, the airport has repeatedly said it is preparing for that day.

“Even with the closure of the airspace, Boryspil Airport remains focused on ensuring operational readiness and financial stability, in particular in terms of infrastructure maintenance and maintaining personnel certification,” the airport said.

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In addition to continual maintenance of the airport, practical training sessions have been regularly held since March this year for specialists in the operation and control of technical equipment, internal infrastructure, ground handling and dispatch procedures, supporting some 600 employees in the Air terminal complex.

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