This year it became clear how long the memory of Russian aviation authorities is - less than two years. It took exactly as long as they needed to forget about all the problems of the Transaero crash and for lively discussions about the rules of carrying hand luggage to miss the pre-bankrupt status of another major carrier, VIM-Avia. And again officials as a mantra repeat that all measures are taken and "will never happen again". And again I want to believe them, especially since this time there were personal punishments. But so far, what has been done does not promise breakthroughs.
"How much baggage can I carry with me on board or register?" - last year this simple and at the same time unexpected question, I, as an aviation author, heard most often from colleagues and friends. A couple of years ago, for an answer, one could not even think: the rules remained standard and uniform for all. But this year there were variants - for many months the whole industry decided the fate of luggage and hand luggage, which directly determines the "availability of air tickets". The Ministry of Transport, the Council of the Federation, Rosaviatsia, the management of the airlines argued about what can be carried on board in addition to hand luggage, forgetting the drugs, laptops, cameras.
Of course, all these are very important issues, which is confirmed by a wide public response. But the officials did not distinguish the details of the ladies' handbag from the male diplomat (let's hope, however, that unintentionally) the "first bell", foreshadowing the departure from the VIM-Avia market, actually broke the beginning of the summer charter program. But the delay and the abolition of the charters have long been accustomed to look through the fingers and officials, and even passengers, to the annual failures of "VIM-Avia" in the summer season are also accustomed. The attention of other market participants was distracted by the long-awaited resumption of traffic growth and the opening of Turkey, and many looked at the departure of VIM-Avia favorably, as they were interested in the market of flights to China, where she worked.
As a result, when the situation around VIM-Avia attracted attention, it was already too late. Another catastrophe in the market confirmed: the financial problems of airlines go to the surface, only when counterparties do not lend, passengers can not fly away, and managers manage to travel abroad. And it also proved completely inconsistent that the Russian authorities (including after the collapse of Transaero) were called the operating system of financial and economic control of carriers. Even in the open public space, observations of her work look like an absurdity theater: in the summer of 2016, Rosaviatsia severely restricted IFly flights (a year later the passengers of the VIM-Avia crashed) against the backdrop of unpunished mass delays of the same VIM-Avia.
Will some officials learn the second major failure in the air market in two years? Will the industry now be under real control - for example, after in the autumn the Minister of Transport, Maxim Sokolov, received from the President the idea of incomplete official compliance?
Market participants are skeptical: "In some situations, for example, those associated with curtailing charter programs, nuts will curl without regret, but it is unlikely to add stability to companies." One of the risk factors for aviators is the most anticipated event of the year - the return of Russian tourists and carriers to Egypt: "It is important not to get carried away by replenishing the aircraft fleet and to open charters in a thoughtful way."
An adequate mechanism of financial control is not seen by anyone, while financial problems for airlines will only increase. For example, in 2017 a record number of new and reconstructed airports was opened - in Perm, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Anapa, Rostov, modernization projects in other cities are continuing. The price of airport services is growing, officials are getting their hands up. Actually, there are not many options for the industry, and the main one is to remain a wild market in which the strongest and most adapted survive, and mistakes are paid by competitors and passengers. At least none of the owners or management of the collapsed airlines has any responsibility for this.