Pskovavia Airlines is waiting for an investor

The administration of the Pskov region plans to sell 75% of the shares of the regional airline for 50 million rubles.
Next week, the authorities of the Pskov region may announce a tender to select an investor to purchase 75% minus one share of Pskovavia. The market value of this package, according to preliminary estimates, is 50 million rubles. The blocking stake will be retained by the region. The goal of privatization is to attract more than 1.2 billion rubles to a regional airline until 2020, the regional administration says. Now Pskovavia does not have a valid flight certificate: Rosaviatsia suspended it this spring. Under the terms of the tender, the investor will have to repair the airport and update the fleet of the carrier. Experts are skeptical of the idea of ​​attracting investors: for airport holdings, an asset with a passenger flow of less than 100 thousand people a year is not of interest, they believe.

As Kommersant's deputy governor Alexander Kuznetsov told Kommersant, the market value of the block of shares (75% minus one share) will be updated by the end of this week, but according to preliminary data it is about 50 million rubles, and documents will be prepared for launching the tender procedure. The contest can be announced next week, he said. At least three investors are interested in privatization, according to the authorities. Competition procedures last 1.5 months. Which companies are ready to participate in the privatization, the administration of the Pskov region did not specify.

Under the terms of the competition, the winner should invest more than 1.2 billion rubles in a regional airline by 2020, which will help Pskovavia out of the crisis. The funds will be directed to the airport (repair of premises, the construction of an extension for the separation of domestic and international traffic) and flight (the purchase of aircraft and equipping the airport with the necessary technical means) components. "Realization of these two tasks is an inalienable condition for privatization," say the regional administration. On the basis of the airline it is expected to continue passenger and cargo air transportation.

OAO Pskovavia is the main operator of the Kresty airport in Pskov. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company employs 264 people. The net loss for 2017 is 98.1 million rubles. In the fleet of the airline - one An-24 and two An-26B, follows from the roster of airlines Rosaviatsii.

In January, the IC of the RF initiated a case on the fact of non-payment of salaries to employees of the airline for the amount of 2.5 million rubles, last year the prosecutor's office dealt with such violations for a total of 17 million rubles. In March, from the regional budget, grants were allocated for the payment of wage arrears to employees of the airline, as well as the lessors of aircraft for a total of 37 million rubles. In April 2018, Rosaviatsia suspended the operator's certificate of air carrier at the request of the carrier. At the same time, the authorities of the Pskov region stated that they plan to restore the airline's flight certificate in mid-May. "Pskovavia" did not apply to Rosaviatsiya with a statement on the restoration of the operator's certificate, Kommersant reported to the agency yesterday. The administration of the region noted that Pskovavia has a license for airport services, which allows it to operate in an air harbor. To restore the flight certificate, three identical aircraft are needed, and although they are in the airline's park, the authorities do not intend to continue passenger transportation on An aircraft, says Mr. Kuznetsov. Thus, the issue of restoring the certificate is postponed until the definition of the investor, which will update the fleet of the airline, the regional official sums up.

Now there are no scheduled flights from the Pskov airport, the regional administration says, emphasizing that the authorities are negotiating with potential carriers. The forecast passenger traffic of the Kresty airport is up to 65,000 passengers per year, the regional government's response to the Kommersant's request says. This week the region agreed with the Rostov airline Azimut about the opening of regular flights between Pskov and Moscow from October 2. The flights will be operated three times a week, but by the end of the year the authorities hope to establish daily flights. The region is also continuing negotiations with the S7 airline about the start of flights to Moscow and other areas, says Kuznetsov, but the carrier is ready to fly only under the subsidized transport program from the regional budget. In S7 yesterday did not comment on the status of negotiations with the region.

Pskov can now be reached by rail and by road. Since August 4, between St. Petersburg and Pskov began to run a high-speed train "Swallow". Transportation takes place daily, the journey takes 3.5 hours, the ticket costs 360 rubles. According to local media, about 380 thousand people visited the Pskov region during 2017. Statistics of tourist traffic for 2017 on the website of the Committee on Culture is missing.

In the opinion of Oleg Panteleev, the executive director of the airport, for the largest airport holdings, such as Novaport, Basel Aero, Airports of the Regions, the asset is of no interest. Under the passenger traffic of less than 100 thousand people per year to attract revenue from non-aviation activities is very difficult, says the expert. "A small airport in the region without support from the region or business is impossible, it's a profoundly unprofitable project." If there is strong support for the region and if the business is integrated into the development of inbound tourism, there is a chance for the project, "Panteleev said, emphasizing , that the idea of ​​own regional airline, engaged in main transport, is utopian. He believes that regional authorities should either immediately sell the asset expensively with minimal encumbrances, or ask for a symbolic price, but include mandatory investments in infrastructure.