"Saratov Airlines" stop flights

Rosaviatsiya decided not to renew the airline operator's certificate.
Three months after the crash of the An-148 "Saratov Airlines", which killed 71 people, the carrier completely stops working. Despite the elimination of Rosaviatsiya's comments and attempts to continue flights under the new brand "Oriol", the regulator closed the sale of the company's tickets. The last flight will be performed on May 31, a staff of 1.2 thousand people will be dissolved by mid-July. In "Saratov Airlines" do not understand the reasons for the decision of the department, but will submit and return to passengers money for 70 thousand tickets sold.

The airline "Saratov Airlines", whose AN-148, flying from Domodedovo to Orsk, crashed on February 11 in the suburbs, reported a stop since May 31. The carrier received a letter from Andrei Kruglov, head of the traffic regulation department of Rosaviation, with a ban on air tickets sales from May 30. The airline came to the conclusion that thus the restriction of its operator's certificate was introduced, and decided to stop work, and from July 18 to lay off 1,2 thousand employees. The money for tickets sold (about 70 thousand before the end of October) in "Saratov Airlines" is promised to be returned.

The airline itself does not understand what caused the decision of the Federal Air Transport Agency. They explain that they took "all measures to correct all the observations in due time".

In Rosaviatsii reported that now the validity of the certificate of the operator is limited to May 30 and "the decision was not canceled".

In addition to stopping sales, the regulator demanded the return of all passengers of Saratov Airlines, who are abroad, "in order to prevent violations of their rights and the development of a crisis situation." Also, airlines are not recommended to send passengers abroad with a return date after May 30.

JSC "Saratov Airlines" (formerly "Saravia") appeared in Saratov in 1931. In 1994 the JSC "Saratov Airlines" was established. In 2011, Aeroflot sold 51% of the company's shares to private investors. Now the airline is owned by ZAO "Invest-holding" Energosoyuz "and Soyuz-Energo LLC, controlled by businessman Arkady Evstafiev (ex-head of Mosenergo, resigned after criticism of Vladimir Putin). According to Kartoteka.ru, the airline's revenue in 2016 was 3.8 billion rubles, net profit - 152 million rubles. The fleet consists of An-148-100B, Embraer E195 and Yak-42D.

In 2017, the airline carried almost 800 thousand passengers. Before the February catastrophe, in which 71 people died, the airline did not have accidents with victims. According to the preliminary version of the Interstate Aviation Committee, the disaster could have occurred due to a series of pilot mistakes. Immediately after the accident, Rosaviatsia conducted an unscheduled inspection and limited the validity of the Saratov Airlines operator's certificate until the end of April. But the carrier continued flights, and new aircraft arrived in his park. In early April, Rosaviatsia recommended that the company itself withdraw from the operator's certificate and engage exclusively in airport activities. But the carrier rebranded and started flying under the trademark "Oriole". The company also continued to open new routes in the Far East.

This is not the first example of the airline's departure from the market due to a major catastrophe. After the wreck in the summer of 2011, the Tu-134, which flew from Moscow to Petrozavodsk, was closed by the airline "Rusair". In November 2013, Boeing 737 of Tatarstan Airlines crashed in Kazan, after which the carrier stopped working. In 2015, stopped flights Metrojet ("Kogalymavia") after the terrorist attack with the Airbus A321 over the Sinai Peninsula.

The executive director of the agency "Airport" Oleg Panteleev notes that over the past years, airlines that committed serious incidents, because of unsatisfactory organization of flight work, "were cruelly banished from the market." At the same time, the size of the carrier did not play a role: even the largest charter player Azur Air was at risk of stopping (in its activity, "inconsistencies and shortcomings related to maintaining the airworthiness of aircraft and organizing flight work" were identified), the expert said. Therefore, he does not believe that Rosaviatsiya uses safety claims as a tool to clean up the market and fight against small airlines.