Middle East 25 September 2017
VIM-Avia is close to collapse and asks the government to help
VIM-Avia air company (based in Domodedovo airport in Moscow) again has delays in the scheduled flights.The carrier canceled or delayed more than a dozen flights for an indefinite period, according to the report of the Investigative Committee of Russia of Saturday, September 23. In the coming days, the problem may worsen. The basic airport of VIM-Avia, Domodedovo, has refused to continue servicing (mainly fuelling) the company in debt. Maintenance of flights on Friday and Saturday was continued only after the letter of guarantee to Domodedovo airport about payment of fuel given by Tatneft, according to the words of one of the officials. But fuel is provided only till Monday inclusive. Further, the airline will need external sources of financing, since it lacks its own funds for current activities. VIM-Avia should pay to the airport about 500 million rubles, according to Vedomosti newspaper. The federal official speaks of several hundred million rubles of debt. In June, VIM-Avia violated holidays of 30 000 tourists.There are another 50 000 - 70 000 people in the risk zone. Last week, the air carrier asked the authorities for help, mostly about state guarantees for loans. A letter was forwarded to the Ministry of Transport with a proposal to consider it. The representative of the Ministry of Transport does not comment on the letter. But the ministry has already begun to prepare for the possible collapse of VIM-Avia airline. According to him, Russian Aviation has already been instructed to work with air carriers on the route network of VIM-Avia in order to determine those responsible for the transportation of passengers, if it can not fly. The potential financial risks of VIM-Avia for passenger transportation will be assessed before the end of this year. If necessary, Russian Aviation is instructed to introduce a restriction on the depth of ticket sales, the representative of the Ministry of Transport adds. He also recommends passengers of charter flights of the airline even before departure to the airport to check with their tour operator information about the flights. VIM-Avia is looking for an agent for debt restructuring, says the manager of a large bank. The tour operators are recommended to refuse "problematic flights» of VIM-Avia. The airline will perform only those flights that can guarantee. At regional airports, VIM-Avia does not have any problems. This was reported by the representative of "Basel aero" (owns airports in the Krasnodar Territory, including Sochi) and the manager of Novaport (owns a network of regional airports, the largest of which is in Novosibirsk). The representative of the "Airports of the Regions" (the airport network, the largest one in Yekaterinburg) was unable to provide a comment on Sunday. VIM-Avia takes the tenth place among Russian airlines in terms of passenger traffic and the fourth among those who fly from Domodedovo airport. Its transportation in January-August increased by almost a third to 1.8 million passengers. The owner of the company is Rashid Mursekaev. In late May - early June, VIM-Avia delayed nearly two hundred flights and, as a result, reduced the charter program, refusing to transport about 100 000 people. Officially, this was due to the fact that several aircrafts were delayed for maintenance and the company lacked flight crew. For many years, VIM-Avia works like this: it accumulates debts in the winter season, then earns and gives money in the summer, says the manager of a large airport. But this year the scheme is broken because of the bad summer season, says the top manager of the airport holding. The airline's website reports that "temporary difficulties with the schedule" are caused by the traditional seasonal decline, which led to disputes between business entities and the delays of a number of flights. " But after consultations with regulators and negotiations with partners, preliminary agreements were reached, which should lead to a correction of the situation. A plan is being developed to resolve the situation jointly with financial organizations that have decided to support the airline, the carrier said. "VIM-avia" will be supported by the Tatarstan business, says a person close to one of the parties to the negotiations on the rescue of the carrier. The company is registered in the republic of Tatarstan, although it is based in Domodedovo. So far, support will be provided by Tatneft, Zenit Bank and the government of Tatarstan. Their representatives on Sunday did not respond to the requests of Vedomosti.