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9 Airlines Grounded Over Unpaid Debts

Published: October 17, 2008 (Issue # 1417)


Nine airlines will be grounded by the end of the week due to overdue debts, aviation authorities announced Wednesday.

Three of the airlines Interavia, Dalavia and Omskavia had all but suspended flights already, stranding hundreds of passengers.

Moscow-based Interavia, which topped the list with an overdue debt of 19.2 million rubles ($729,000) has not flown since Oct. 9, missing 23 flights as of Wednesday, according to the web site of Domodedovo Airport.

Other big debtors include state-owned Dalavia, with 18.4 million rubles in overdue payments, and Omskavia, part of the troubled AirUnion alliance, with late payments of 4.9 million rubles.

The Federal Navigation Authority said the airlines had repeatedly been asked to pay their debts and that, in line with legislation, they had gotten a warning, followed by restriction of services on charter flights and now suspension of services for all flights, Interfax reported.

The process of withdrawing Interavias license might start on Oct. 26, the report said.

An Interavia representative at Domodedovo Airport said hundreds of passengers were waiting for information about when they could expect to fly.

We do not know when the airlines services will resume, he said. We do not know anything except that the airline is deeply in debt and we have not been paid for three months.

Domodedovo spokesman Ildar Tuzmuhametov said the airport was waiting for the carrier to take action but would not comment on how soon the problems might be resolved or what was causing the delays.

He stressed that the delays were an internal problem of Interavia. Flights of all other carriers at Domodedovo are landing and departing on time, he said.

High fuel prices have caused problems for domestic carriers, resulting in last months government bailout of AiRUnion and the transfer of its stake to state-run Russian Technologies with instructions to form a new carrier. AiRUnions assets are being folded into a new holding, together with Atlant-Soyuz, controlled by the Moscow city government and several regional airlines.

Russian Technologies said it would take at least nine months to create the holding. The state corporation will repay $100 million of AiRUnions estimated $800 million debt and plans to renegotiate the rest.

The Federal Navigation Authority said that the other airlines that will be grounded as of Friday are Tesis, Vyborg, Aeroshchit, Irkutsk Bezbokov ASK ROSTO, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant and Buguruslanskoye Letnoye Uchilishche.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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