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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 Interavia’s 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 airline’s 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 month’s government bailout of AiRUnion and the transfer of its stake to state-run Russian Technologies with instructions to form a new carrier. AiRUnion’s 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 AiRUnion’s 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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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