Ukraine hopes flight deal turns screw on hotels

Ukrainian officials are hoping a low-cost airfare deal will put pressure on hotels to reduce rates for this year's Euro 2012 championships after European football's governing body raised fears about overpricing, local media reported on Friday.

Ukraine and Poland will co-host the June 8-July 1 championships and some Ukrainian hotels have introduced 10-fold price hikes in the anticipation of an influx of relatively well-off foreign supporters.

UEFA president Michel Platini blasted local "bandits and swindlers" on a visit to Ukraine last week, claiming that such increases were unacceptable and could deter fans from visiting the former Soviet republic.

President Viktor Yanukovich ordered his government to resolve the issue this month and various state bodies have started reporting back with their findings.

Boris Kolesnikov, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of preparations for the finals, told reporters in the eastern city of Donetsk that the government would promote low-cost air travel to put pressure on hotels to reduce rates.

"We are finalising an agreement with Ryanair on its entry to the Ukrainian market and all fans will be able to compare the cost of flying in for every game with the cost of staying in Ukraine," Shakhtar Donetsk football club quoted him as saying on its website on Thursday.

Kolesnikov said three return flights from London to Donetsk for each of England's group games in Ukraine would cost a total of $900.

"I think this will cool the ardour of our hotels," he said.

Another official, Ukrainian Euro 2012 director Markian Lubkivsky, said there were thousands of rooms available to fans at all price levels.

"There are one, two and three-star hotels available to fans as well as university campuses and resorts," Ukrainian news website Zavtra quoted him as saying on Friday.

"We are ready to accommodate all fans."

Separately, Ukraine's state anti-trust committee said it was investigating hotel pricing at tournament venues in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv, Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper reported on Friday.

The cheapest Lviv hotel listed on UEFA's championship website for the Germany-Portugal match on June 9 charges 195 euros per night. For the Ukraine-Sweden match on June 11 in Kiev, offers start at 104 euros.

A campsite set up 35 kilometres from Kiev plans to charge 30 euros per night.