The Ukraine went football mad this summer as the country co-hosted the Euro 2012 football championship alongside its Eastern European neighbour Poland
The overhaul of Kiev’s main international airport, Boryspil, was a key element in the capital’s preparations - Boryspil is the country’s main international gateway, handling over 60% of all the Ukraine’s passenger traffic. Consequently, the airport played a crucial role in ensuring foreign fans travelled safely and in good time to see their games not just in the capital, but in the three other cities in the country hosting games: Lvov, Kharkov and Donetsk.
Boryspil is frantically building a new $208m (£131m) passenger terminal, Terminal D, to cope with the large increase in passenger traffic. When up and running, the new facility will be able to handle a minimum of 5 million passengers a year, more than doubling the airport’s current capacity.
This project is the biggest upgrade in the country’s airport infrastructure since it gained independence from the Soviet Union way back in 1991 so perhaps it isn’t surprising that the opening of the new terminal has already been delayed. The new date for its completion is the beginning of June 2012, which was perilously close the start of Euro 2012.
Terminal D will serves both international and domestic flights. The terminal will be a big improvement on the airport’s ageing and often congested Terminal B, which was built back in the 1960s, but is now undergoing a much-needed facelift.
A word or two about Boryspil’s other terminals. The airport’s original ageing domestic terminal, Terminal A, has now closed, and unless you are seriously wealthy, you are unlikely to be using Terminal C as this smaller facility is reserved for VIP users. That just leaves Terminal F, which was only finished back in 2010, and is reserved mainly for the flights of Ukrainian flag carrier, Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA). A fourth terminal, Terminal E, is also on the cards, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. It won’t be opening until 2015, or at least that’s the plan.
On to the shopping, and not before time, we hear you cry. Happily, Boryspil is blessed with a top-class duty-free retailer in the shape of Kyiv Duty Free, which is co-run by the very experienced Irish firm Aer Rianta International. They run two well-stocked stores in Terminal B, which handles most of the international traffic passing through the airport. A good starting point for anyone flying from the terminal and thinking of buying a gift is the retailer’s excellent, customer-friendly website, www.kyivdutyfree.com
, which offers a handy pre-order pick-up service.
One of the first thing browsers might notice are the tobacco prices. Smokers from Western Europe will be in heaven looking at the prices of duty-free cigarettes in this part of the world. A standard 200-stick box of Winston Filters Classic will set you back just €15 (£12.30). Yes, you read that right. There are also fantastic deals to be had on other brands such as Kent Nanotek (€24/£19.80) and Parliament Aqua Blue King Size (€25/£20.60).
Liquor prices are less spectacular, however, and are much more on a par with prices elsewhere in Europe. Expect to pay as much as €24 (£19.80) for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, for instance, while a decent bottle of single malt such as The Glenlivet 12 Year Old is as much as €32 (£26.40) for a 1-litre bottle.
Our advice in this case would be to avoid the international brands and plump for something local such as the traditional fiery pepper-flavoured vodkas available from brands such as Nemiroff and Kozatska and priced at under €10 (£8.25) for a bottle. For something a little sweeter try a bottle of Nemiroff Honey Pepper for €7 (£5.80), while the beautifully smooth, ultra-premium Nemiroff Lex Ultra is a snip at €21 (£17.30).
The Ukraine also has a long reputation for producing good quality sparkling wines from the Crimea region using much the same methods as in Champagne. Kyiv Duty Free has a good selection and prices are very attractive at around €9 (£7.40) for a standard-sized bottle. Why not give it a try?
If you are flying out of Terminal F, you will find an excellent duty-free store managed by German travel-retail Gebr. Heinemann. It’s big at 750 square metres and features many of the luxury beauty and fashion brands that you will see at many other large airports around the world such as Montblanc, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Armani, Swarovski, Dior, Gucci, La Prairie, Shisheido, Estée Lauder and Sisley.
Both duty-free stores in Terminal F and Terminal B stock a limited range of souvenirs, but in truth you will find a broader selection at better prices downtown. But if you have forgotten to buy something for loved ones back home, typical souvenirs from this part of the world include the colourful Matryoshka dolls, intricately carved wooden jewellery boxes, painted eggs, embroidered cloth and rustic earthenware.
The exact details of the shopping offer in the new Terminal D are being kept under wraps for now, but if it comes close to matching the quality of the duty-free stores in the airport’s two existing terminals, travellers won’t be disappointed. The one thing missing from the airport’s retail offer, however, is any arrivals shops, for those who want to take advantage of duty-free prices.
Disappointed? Well, no airport is perfect!
and for arriving travellers check your allowances
Kiev Boryspil international airport (English version)
Ukraine International Airlines Terminal F website (English version)